From the Principal
Sunday, 8 March is International Womenâs Day; an opportunity to both celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women in business, innovation, technology, science, sport, politics, the arts and so on as well as to reflect on why it is that there remains an ongoing imperative to raise awareness about gender bias and inequality in our communities and work places.
As a proud College of Good Samaritan Education, our community is committed to the Statement on the Voice and Experience of Women in Leadership. The preamble to the statement says this:
Good Samaritan Education, in keeping with its Charism and Philosophy of Education,
is called to proclaim the teaching of the Scriptures and the Church
that every human person is made in the image and likeness of God
and therefore, all women and men are equal.
The statement goes on to commit to:
Promoting effectively an understanding of the personal dignity of women, in accord with the teaching of the Scriptures and the Church
Encouraging and advancing the full participation of women in the life and mission of the Church, as well as academic, cultural, economic, social and political life to better reflect the fullness of the Divine and
Taking appropriate action against any form of discrimination or marginalisation of women so that the image of God that shines in all human persons without exception may be fully respected.
We have a responsibility at the College to continually challenge ourselves about how we make our commitment to this statement come alive in the daily lives of our young women. How do we arrange our programs of education, student leadership, extracurricular and social justice initiatives to give obvious and tangible expression to this commitment? How do we as teachers and mentors nurture in our girls a deeply held belief that they can do and be anything that they choose and more importantly, what do we do to help facilitate those aspirations? How do we rail against the still implicit bias against the important place and contribution that women have to make and must make in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math?
To engage with our girls in conversation, both in formal and informal settings, is to know that our communities will only ever be fully enriched in a way that reflects the image and likeness of God when our attitudes towards the equitable participation of women is dignified.
I have been delighted and quite humbled in this past fortnight to have had the opportunity to join in the Year 7 Welcome afternoon and yesterday, the College Open Day. On both occasions, the warmth, vitality, mutual respect and optimism that so obviously permeates the relationships of our community every day were very obvious. It is wonderful to see in the eyes of our Year 7 girls and especially the Year 6 girls hoping to join our College in 2021, a sense of wonder, excitement and optimism about their future at the College. It is a reminder of the responsibility we have to honor that optimism and those aspirations by the quality of our relationships and the opportunities we offer.
Last week we began our Lenten journey at the College marked with student led House Liturgies. We often associate Lent with the idea of giving up something and this is a commendable approach which has held many of us in good stead for countless Lenten periods. From my perspective, as I get older, I like to think about it another way. Rather than giving up something we can also choose to take up something. A little like packing for a journey, we can fill our lives with something to bring about a different sort of change, like taking up a sense of thankfulness and gratitude every day or taking up generosity by embracing Project Compassion or taking up a commitment to learning and celebrating new knowledge. Interestingly, when we consider House gatherings and the custom we have here of student led liturgies, it is worth remembering the meaning of the word liturgy. The original meaning can loosely be translated to the “work of the people in the service of God.” Last week many of our students began the graced season of lent by taking up the work of liturgy in the service of God and the people of God who make up our community.
Each of those House liturgies began with the work of an individual student taking up the responsibility, sometimes as a First Nation student, of acknowledging the Dharawal People and the land on which we gather. They were young women from other Indigenous nations and from the broader Australian context who reminded us of our duty to honour our responsibility to the First Nations of this country and our ongoing commitment as a College to reconciliation.
Whenever I listen to our students speak with passion and commitment in honouring the proud history of this ancient land I am frequently moved by their poise, their honesty and their willingness to take up this responsibility to lead us all into the possibilities of who we might become as a nation. I was reminded of this again last Friday when I attended the Catholic Schools Debating Association State Championships at St Andrews Catholic College, Marayong during the day and that evening at Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown. We were well represented with five teams of young women who set out for the day on the road to debating success. Our Year 7 students won the State Competition and were narrowly beaten in the State Championship in a split decision on Friday evening.
At Marayong on Friday morning the day began with the traditional acknowledgement of Country delivered by poised young people with confidence and respect. Similarly, on Friday evening when we relocated to Patrician Brothers two young men invited those assembled from across the State to share their pride in representing their Peoples and honouring their elders and all Indigenous leaders past, present and emerging. It occurred to me on Friday night that in this nation’s journey to Reconciliation we have finally found our way to take up acknowledgement, to take up the truth of our history and to take steps on the road to a new dimension of nationhood.
From the Dean of Pastoral Care
This weekâs article from Parenting Ideas easily encapsulates a lot of the reasons why we do what we do here at the College. By implementing the MYP, our pastoral structures and programs we recognise the disruptive, uncertain and complex world our students live in now and face into their future. Our aim is to give the students key skills and understanding to face the future with capacity and success. I like how this article captures the reasons for our approach in a bitesize summary.
Additionally, you are invited by Parenting Ideas to take part in their first webinar of the year on 18 March. These webinars are free of charge, as a result of our College membership. You may be interested to note that a significant number of parents over the last two years have taken advantage of these webinars and found them worthwhile. I encourage you to consider taking up the opportunity.
Please see the details in the downloads and I will remind you by email closer to the webinar.
As we settle into the term, can I take a moment to remind parents of our uniform guidelines. These are outlined on page 13 of the Student Diary. As happens in a large community at times we see an increasing number of students who are in breach of our uniform. The College takes great pride in the uniform and we expect students to also take pride in themselves by presenting themselves accordingly.
Some aspects that appear to be currently of concern:
- Coloured stitching on school shoes
- Uniforms shorter than mid-calf
- Excessive jewellery
- False eyelashes and nails
As parents I encourage you to take some time to discuss this with your daughters.
VET - Student Success at WorldSkills
On Tuesday, 19 November St Mary Star of the Sea College hosted the Regional WorldSkills Business Competition. This week we are pleased to announce that Leyla Eren has been nominated for a position in the NSW VET in Schools team to compete at a national level in Business Services. The National Championships will showcase Australia’s best young apprentices, trainees and students in VET.
The National Competition attracts over 15,000 visitors, industry leaders, experts and top education providers. The event is over 3 days where students are flown from around the country to showcase and benchmark their skills on the national stage, competing against their industry peers from around the country. This year's national competition will be held in August in Perth.
Receiving a nomination for a position on the NSW Team is an outstanding achievement. This is the first time that the College has had a student achieve success at this level. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Leyla and wish her the best of luck for nationals and in her preparation for the upcoming competition.
The below video further explains WorldSkills.
STUDENT DROP OFF
Advice to parents and carers that Wollongong City Council Rangers visited the College this week after receiving complaints about vehicles parking in NO STOPPING or BUS ZONES when dropping off students at the front the school.
The Kiama bus is arriving late to the College on several mornings each week. College staff are in regular communication with Premier Illawarra regarding this service and we ask that any parent of a student who is regularly affected to email email@example.com regarding your concerns.
Debating - Year 8 Country Champions
On Friday 28 February, five teams from Years 7 – 11 (2019 teams) competed in the CSDA Country and State Championships which were postponed last year because of the fires.
All students were a credit to the College and St Mary’s Year 8 (2019) made it through to become Country Champions and Semi finalists in the State Championship.
The students were:
Year 7 (2019) – Saskia McIntyre, Maya Chrostowski, Keira Murphy, Evie Anastovski
Year 8 (2019) – Mairead Costello, Alyssa Sellars, Dania Jaber, Amelia Dellow
Year 9 (2019) – Cleo Fien, Paige Davies, Sophia Gordon, Karen Ding
Year 10 (2019) – Serena Lucato (stand in), Chi Nguyen, Imogen Woolnough
Year 11 (2019) – Francesca Borromeo, Veronica Negro, Olivia Ladmore
P.A.R.T.Y Year 10 Excursion
On Thursday 27 February, 33 Year 10 students were given the opportunity to visit Royal North Shore Hospital and take part in the P.A.R.T.Y Program (Prevention of Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth). Accompanied by Ms Chadwick, Mrs Dunn and Mr Selby students embarked on an early morning bus trip to the hospital. The program addressed the consequences of trauma and how to recognise and avoid risk related choices.
Once the girls arrived, they were educated on the negative impacts of drug and alcohol use and the devastating results of traumatic injuries due to risk-related decision making. Speakers reinforced the fact that all risk related accidents are preventable if careful and informed decisions are made.
The students participated in interactive activities that augmented the lessons taught. The professional and accommodating staff ensured the morning sessions were both informative and entertaining.
The students were then taken through the stages of treatment after accidents. This included visiting the Emergency Ward and the Intensive Care Unit, where the girls explored the process of admittance for patients and briefly witnessed some patients with real-life injuries.
They examined the process of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, focusing on the methods of recovery and the procedures which concentrate on getting patients back into the routine of performing simple everyday tasks â tasks which healthy people generally take for granted. Some girls had the chance to try on braces used for spinal injuries as well as challenge themselves to get dressed and make a sandwich only using one hand, which effectively developed empathy for patients in recovery.
Students then listened to a presentation which allowed them to consider the option of organ donations and ended the day by hearing a heartfelt speech from Matthew Caruana (a paraplegic), who shared his journey with the struggles of drug abuse and mental health illness. Through his story, students were able to identify the link between risk taking decisions and lifelong consequences.
Overall the day was a great learning opportunity for the girls. Although some of the sights were confronting, they found the program compelling, insightful and beneficial, as now they can fully understand the traumatic consequences of drug and alcohol use, as well as how to avoid risk-related decision making.
Academic Competitions 2020
Students in Years 7-12 are encouraged to participate in the Academic Competitions that are run each year in various subject areas: Mathematics, Science, History and Geography. These competitions test a variety of skills and provide a valuable opportunity for students to gain a measure of their own achievement in external competition situations. They also give students the opportunity to excel in their areas of ability and provide the experience that can lead to greater success in school assessments, Naplan and the HSC. Please refer to a recent email from the College with more details about these competitions.
If you have any questions please email Mary.Boyle@stmarys.nsw.edu.au
Extension Science: Doing Science Research at UNSW
During the summer holidays, Year 12 student Thura Sabbar was selected to attend a five day Science Extension Summer School at UNSW.
Thura was offered a place in the research group, “The potential origin of cell-based life” where she was able to conduct research looking into "if life really did originate in the ocean". Thura worked alongside PhD candidates conducting their research. The PhD students worked with Thura to help her conduct her own experiments and collect her own results.
By using the high-tech equipment at UNSW, Thura collaborated with uni students, lecturers and professors and engage in her passion for science and scientific research.
We are looking forward to reading her final report to see what new scientific discoveries she has uncovered!
Lady Mayoress Afternoon Tea
On Tuesday 18 February, 17 wonderful young ambassadors of the College, from Years 8-10 attended the Lady Mayoress' Afternoon Tea at the Wollongong Town Hall. The girls were involved in the service of afternoon tea and were very attentive, patient and enthusiastic. This was a wonderful opportunity for the girls to engage with the community and the following email was received following the event.
‘Please thank the girls from me. I’ve just looked at some of the feedback forms and many wrote thank you and congratulations to the St Mary’s girls. They commented on their lovely manners and said they are a credit to the school and their parents.’
National Youth Science Forum 2020
Recently, we had an amazing opportunity to attend the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) in Canberra and Brisbane. This experience was life-changing and has created within us a new way of thinking and problem solving whilst allowing us to join the long line of NYSF Alumni.
NYSF is a two week science camp that involves students in lab visits, lectures and fun team bonding activities. The interaction between all students is fun and we created lifelong bonds with the friends we made. Not only did NYSF provide many opportunities to take part in STEM related activities but it also helped prepare us for university life, assisting us in choosing the best pathways. We attended lectures on thinking critically and how to manage time effectively whilst also getting a chance to speak one on one with the staff on their experience going to university.
One interesting lecture that we attended was a talk on the Australian Antarctic Division and their work with whale tagging to monitor their migratory paths and their growth in population. This tracking was also a way of monitoring a rare species of krill that the killer whales feed on. We were also given information on living in the Antarctic and what type of jobs you could perform. It was an insightful lecture that showed us all the amazing opportunities that come with working in a science related career.
Along with many lectures we also attended site lab visits. One highlight was witnessing superconductors in action and how their beneficial properties were being utilised for new purposes in society. After a hard day's work and study we were able to have a blast with our new friends at various activities. These included discos, game nights and trivia nights.
Amongst the fun was the present issue of the bushfires which were impacting the wider Australian community. In the spirit of St Maryâs, chocolate boxes were regularly passed around with all proceeds going to those organisations such as the Red Cross and the RFS. Due to the wide range of participants from all over Australia it was eye opening and humbling to hear the different stories about drought and bushfires.
At the end of the session it was hard to say goodbye to our new friends. The experience we took away from NYSF was invaluable and we highly recommend it to all those who are interested.
We would like to thank Illawarra Sunrise Rotary Club, the P&F and the College for all their support in making it possible for us to attend this amazing camp.
Interact Fundraiser 2019: Syrian Women Refugees
In Term 4 2019, the Interact Club held a Pizza Sale to raise money for the UN Womenâs work with refugee women. Since the start of the conflict in 2011 nearly 5,000,000 people have fled Syria, most of them women and children. One quarter of Syrian refugee women are caught in a spiral of poverty, isolation and fear. To assist these women, UN Women opened a series of Oasis Centres; a safe place for refugee women and girls to access emergency aid and specialised gender-based violence services.
At the Oasis Centre women can learn skills and earn an income, participating in cash-for-work programs that enable them to build confidence and feel at ease. The scope and impact of the Oasis model has expanded to encompass multi-sectoral services that build womenâs resilience and empowerment.
The Interact Club was very successful in raising $668 from our pizza sale to assist UN Women in this mission, giving hope and safety to Syrian refugee women who have fled terrible violence, so that they can be empowered by education and the opportunity to support their families. On 17 February, Claire Momsen, ex-student and representative of UN Women Australia, came to the school and accepted the cheque on behalf of UN Women.
Much appreciation goes to the Interact Club members, Ms Davis and Ms Pearce for supporting the fundraiser and we wish to thank all the girls and teachers who bought pizzas and contributed to this worthy cause.
2020 Swim Carnival Report
St Mary’s Swim Carnival was held at Corrimal Pool on Tuesday, 25 February in perfect weather conditions.
Congratulations to the following Age Champions:
|Age||Age Champion||Runner Up|
|12||Cate Giason||Matilda Page|
|13||Jessica Cole||Ivy Miller|
|14||Aya Milton||Nieve Campbell|
|15||Grace OHara||Isabelle Van Akker|
|16||Sarah Locke||Claudia McGoldrick|
|17||Isabella Green||Holly Holmesby|
|18||Jasmine Locke||Eloise Happe|
Several Records were broken, reflecting the standard of excellence among our talented swimmers. Congratulations to the following girls on their fantastic
|Eloise Happe – Yr 12 Kelly||Senior 100m Breaststroke, Senior 200m Individual Medley||1:18.19, 2:35.62|
|Isabella Green – Yr 12 Hayes||17yr 50m Freestyle, 17yr 50m Backstroke, 17yr 100m Freestyle||27.56, 32.72, 1:01.19|
|Jessica Cole – Yr 8 Sullivan||13yr 100m Freestyle, 13yr 50m Butterfly||1:05.66, 31.59|
|Aya Milton- Yr 9 Ungunmmer Bauman||14yr 50m Freestyle, 14yr 100m Freestyle, 14yr 50m Butterfly
Jnr 100m Butterfly
Jnr 200m Individual Medley
|27.69, 1:03.25, 31.06
The relay events were hotly contested. Congratulations to Lyons on winning the Yr 7 relay with Bashir runner up and Gibbons in 3rd place. In the Yr 12 relay, Bashir nudged out Kelly to take out the 1st place, with Lyons in 3rd place.
A list of girls selected to represent our College at the Diocesan Swimming Carnival on Friday, 13 March has been placed on the Sports Notice board and
permission notes distributed via Tutor Group boxes. If any selected swimmer is unable to attend please advise Mrs Sparks as soon as possible so a replacement
swimmer can be organised. A folder with results of all events is available for viewing at Mrs Sparks’ office.
I’d like to thank the teaching staff that helped make our carnival a successful day. A big thank you to the parents that stepped in to help as timers for
events – your assistance was very much appreciated! I’d also like to thank the team of 13 Yr 12 helpers that arrived early to set up tents and equipment,
staying behind to help pack up at the end of the day. Finally, thank you to the Yr 9 PASS Class who assisted as Carnival Helpers for the entire day
– well done girls! Yr 9 PASS study a unit on Carnival and Event Management – helping out at school sports carnivals helps them gain an insight to the
organisation and coordination of sports events.
Work Studies - Guest Speaker
Work Studies is a Senior Course running for the first time at St Mary Star of the Sea College. The purpose of the course is to enable young people to develop skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence to allow them to experience a successful transition from school to work and further education and training.
On Monday, 2 March our Year 11 students benefited from listening to a guest local business woman, Ms Alita Ashcroft from Soul Fit Gym Woonona. Alita spoke about skills and attributes employers look for in potential employees, sharing her career path and experiences to assist students with their future career goals.
I would like to thank Alita and Soul Fit Gym for taking the time to enhance the learning of our students.
Novotel Northbeach Visit
Students from the Preliminary English Studies class visited the Novotel recently to compliment their study of English in education, work and community. The girls were met by Hannah Ainsworth from Human Resources, who shared valuable information about their recruiting process, what they look for in a resume and cover letter and more importantly, how to present in an interview.
Hannah discussed the type of skills young people need to enter the workforce and the importance of first impressions and phone skills when looking for a job. It was a very informative session. The girls gained first-hand insights from a professional and had an opportunity to ask valuable questions on the day.
NSW All Schools Triathlon
Thank you to parents for supporting their children and team members by transporting them to the International Regatta Centre in Penrith on Thursday, 27Â February and for helping the team set up and pack down. Athletes were ready for a 7:00am bike check in and pack pick up. This is one of the premier sporting events on the NSW Schools calender and is growing with competitors each year. All the St Mary's athletes were keen to challenge themselves individually and as a team.
Competitive swims from Tessa Body and Olivia Sheppard who came out of the water within two seconds of one another in the fiercely contested 112 girls junior teams. Amelia Martin was second in CCC and averaged 34.6km/hr over 10 km in the heat. The girls went on to finish 8th in CCC.
A mega swim from Sarah Locke with a first out the the water for CCC. Amazing effort by the hand over to Emily Strumfin who backed up after her own intermediate age group and competed in the senior team also to finish 2nd in CCC in both age division races. She even forgo her podium medal presentation in the intermediate team to marshall for the seniors race. Emily had some fierce cat and mouse competitions with another school cyclist to maintain her position. Thank you for the huge effort Emily for legally competing in the two age divisions. To finish off Mia Evans ran her heart out to bring the athletes home in overall 2nd CCC and 4th place from 139 teams. A Top 10 to cyclist Chloe Aibaliotis also in the other intermediate team.
Well done to Elise Beaumont in her Top 10 swim finish and Rachel Sylvester for her competitive spirit and improvement displayed over the two years. Congratulations to the senior team members for their commitment and being positive role models. Well done girls!
Zig Zag Young Entrepreneur Program
Our Young Entrepreneur Program offers a unique opportunity for young people to recognise and explore their potential as a future entrepreneur, whilst building their skill set for future employment in a rapidly changing world. Please see the flyer in the Downloads section of this newsletter for more information.
Annual School Fee Statements have been issued to all families. Please contact the Fees Coordinator if you have not received your copy. Fees are due for payment on the 09/03/2020 or the College offers an instalment plan option, which 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 Formto 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.
Leaving the College:
Just a reminder, if a student is withdrawn from the College one full term’s notice must be given in writing to the Principal. If one term’s notice is not given a full term’s fee will be charged.
Leave of Absence:
If a student applies for leave of absence for a holiday or travel, school fees are to be paid prior to approval of leave.
10 March - NSW Schools Oztag Gala Day
13 March - Diocesan Swimming, Corrimal Pool
17 March - Year 7 Immunisations
20 March - Year 9 Activity Day at ERC
Dates to remember .....
27 March - SMC Cross Country
27 March - SMC Film Festival
3 April - NSW CCC Swimming
P&F AGM and General Meeting, Thursday 26 March commencing at 7.00pm in the PLC (Market Street entrance).
To review and update your daughter’s details including important medical data please visit https://tass.stmarys.nsw.edu.au/parentlounge/login.cfm