From the Principal
Winter officially starts tomorrow, and we are getting an early taste of some winter weather. We have been blessed with a beautiful Autumn so we can’t really complain about the arrival of winter. I love all of the seasons, but winter is perhaps my favourite. It’s a time for putting on warm clothes and feeling truly alive as the wind reminds me of both the power of nature and the beauty there is around us at this time of year. There is no better fare than a big pot of soup and winter food is generally more delicious and good for you. The comfort of getting under the doona just about guarantees a good night’s sleep. Winter also provides wonderful opportunities for curling up in front of the heater and reading a good book.
Not only is winter a beautiful season, it’s also important in nature. Winter is a time of renewal as plants and trees enter a period of slower growth which allows regrowth in spring when we see trees and plants flourish. There are some spiritual comparisons here, as there are times in our lives when we need to bunker down and to take time out. There are times when we can experience coldness in our relationships or in our families. In each of our lives we can feel alone and miserable and we may not be able to see a path forward. It is at these times that God is closest - we just need to reach out to him.
There is a poem titled “Winter of the Soul” that begins:
The winter of my soul is here.
My heart is frosted o’er with fear
Of regrets regarding yesteryear.
If the pains were only less.
The poem goes on to speak of the trials and tribulations of a winter of the soul. Any of us can experience these feelings and emotions. Like the seasons,
winter is followed by spring, where beauty is rediscovered, and hope and joy are reborn. So it is in our lives. We need winter to recognise a different
kind of beauty to help us appreciate the warmth of spring and summer. So, embrace the cold and enjoy. It will help you appreciate the beautiful spring
weather a little more when winter comes to an end.
The College held the Annual Athletics Carnival today and, while it was a little on the chilly side at times, it was a fantastic day. The House spirit,
the participation of girls in both the serious events and the novelty events was fantastic and the great work of teachers and other staff was very
much appreciated. While St Mary’s girls may appear sedate and mild mannered, they are a competitive bunch. The sportsmanship shown was excellent, however
there was certainly a very healthy competitive spirit evident in the formal events.
I had morning tea with a group of students who are new to the College and I spoke to them about our Athletics Carnival. They were somewhat bemused by the
idea of dressing up in tutu’s, sumo suits and other weird and wonderful costumes. However, I assured them that this is perfectly acceptable attire
for a St Mary’s carnival, as long as they were in House colours. My thanks to Mrs Sparks and the PDHPE staff for organising a great carnival and to
all staff for their work on the day.
I wish each of you a peace filled and relaxing weekend.
Year 8 Camp Experience
Year 8 Camp Experience
From 15 to 17 May, all of Year 8 had the opportunity to go to camp! There were many nervous girls and anxious personalities whilst we were waiting for the buses. Despite our uncertainty we went into camp with an open mind. We arrived at Belanglo State Forest and could instantly feel the cold. Within the first hour we had transferred our abundance of clothes into packs, layered up and were fitted with our hiking bags. My group's first activity was abseiling. Every activity at camp was a challenge by choice which means that you do not have to do every activity but at least give it a try. We had the option of a 5m, 15m, or 20m abseil; my whole group completed the 5m abseil, only a few girls attempted the 15m and 20m. Thankfully, I completed the 20m abseil whilst being a little nervous, I still managed to take in the marvellous view. After abseiling, my group began to hike down the mountain to our cabins. Once we arrived we set up and began to cook stir fry for dinner, as night fell the temperature dropped and we collected firewood which surprisingly wasn’t easy to find. Before we went to sleep we sat around the camp fire enjoying toasted marshmallows and sharing stories. Finally, we returned to our cabin and rugged up. There were twelve girls in my cabin, a little squishy but it kept us warm throughout the night.
The second day began with a long hike down the mountain and constant ‘parkour’ challenges. We arrived at our first activity - canoeing. We were paired
up, dressed up and on the boat ready to race. The once dry group became the drenched group with missing shoes but very happy. We were led to our campsite
and showed a demonstration of how to set up a two-man tent. The time came to go to the toilet which was challenging in the dark, however, litters of
girls would assemble together, braving the cold and keeping each other safe. Finally, after a long fun day we packed into our tents side by side like
sardines to keep warm, told scary stories until fatigue lured us into a peaceful sleep.
Day three had arrived, our groups woke up, attempted to warm up and cleaned up. Bonding with new friends, having fun and a bundle of laughs helped us develop our collaboration skills and tested our tired minds. Every game we played required all of the groups ideas and it really helped me to get to know the other girls.
Time went by quickly and before we knew it, we were gathering our bags for the long, challenging hike up the hill (which felt like a mountain). When we reached the top, we combined all the groups to spread our hilarious, frightening and gut wrenching stories before bundling back into the bus and heading for home, travelling with new friendships, perspectives and experiences.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank the teachers for taking us on this amazing camp. We have learned a lot and know we will appreciate the friendships and memories for many years to come.
Year 10 Building Bridges Performance
Building Bridges - that was Brett Huntâs performance title. Only two words yet in the two hours given, he taught us more than we could ever imagine about relationships. From beginning to end, Brett had our attention captured. One could not imagine all the experiences that he retold in his performance. A room full of Year 10 students could not imagine the emotional weight of the things they would be told on this Tuesday afternoon. We gasped together, laughed together and even had a bit of a cry. Truth be told, we didnât expect to have learnt so much knowledge about relationships and building bridges instead of burning them.
Year 10 students were asked by Ms Walsh to write a tweet about the Building Bridges performance. Here is what they had to say:
- Heart warming and eye-opening #amazed #almostcried
- Brett used his personal experiences to communicate concepts associated with relationships #family #friends #community
- It was awe-inspiring to say the least. Brett had our attention captured from beginning to end #speechless
- What a memorable and rewarding experience at SMC today. I now know what to not take for granted. #appreciateyourfamily
- This performance covers topics I didn't know I needed to hear about #itsaboutrelationships
- Brett Hunt's performance at my school was amazing. It incorporated meaningful songs, amazing stories and life lessons teaching students about relationships throughout life and building a relationship with yourself. He used comedy as well to break up the performance and help us relate and be closer to him as an audience. We look forward to seeing Brett again and this justified why St Mary's loves Brett so much. #weloveBrett #weloveDanny
The Alliance Francaise de L’Illawarra French Film Festival
Bonjour tout le monde!
Last week, French students from Years 10 and 11 attended Warrawong Gala Cinema for the Alliance Française Film Festival. The day involved watching the film ‘Au bout des doigts’ then walking to a park to have a picnic with other schools from around the Illawarra. Many students had lunch with a French flavour and enjoyed fresh baguettes with brie and ham.
The film was thoroughly enjoyed by all and received a round of applause at the end, just like the French. We were really proud of ourselves as we could understand most of the language from the film which is a great achievement for all of us! At the park, we were given the opportunity to speak with other French-speaking students and make new friends. We played petanque, participated in speaking activities and French trivia.
We had a great day and look forward to this day next year.
St Mary’s Tarantella Dancers at Castagne Day
On Sunday, 19 May the College ‘Tarantella Dancers’ were invited to perform at the very popular family fun day at the Fraternity Club. La Festa delle Castagne (Chestnut Day) is a ‘Sagra’ which is a centuries old tradition celebrating when a particular food comes into season.
Sagre are still very popular celebrations that take place in all parts of Italy. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the piazza vibe. Many members of their extended families were there to cheer them on. Special thanks to Ms Visaggio for preparing the girls.
Social Justice Forum
On Tuesday, 28 May, a group of passionate Year 11 students headed off in the College bus with Ms Walsh and Ms Kent to attend the 20th Anniversary ‘Social Justice Forum’ at Mount St Benedict College in Pennant Hills. The guest speaker for the evening was Gem Romuld from ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). ICAN was established in Australia in 2007 and in 2017 were awarded the Nobel Peace Price for their "work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” and their “ground breaking effort to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”. To say that we were inspired was an understatement.
We then had the opportunity to experience a broad array of workshops including: Creativity vs Destruction, Wandana Aboriginal Education, Sydney Jewish
Museum, Settlement Services, Environmental Workshops, Days for Girls, Sustainable Fashion, Immersion Trips, talks from past Social Justice Captains
and more. It truly was a memorable and special evening to be a part of, and one that I know has most definitely planted the seed for some future projects
at SMC, so stay tuned…
Year 11 Students who attended: Chandra Singh, Darcy Cullen, Alanah Hunter, Tyrene Hamilton, Lily Maruff, Zoe Patricks, Tahnee Chandler, Gabriela Wilcox-Watson, Olivia Hauser and Veronica Negro.
Preparing for Year 11 and the Women in Careers Expo
On Thursday, 23 May, Year 10 students participated in rotational information sessions and were given an overview of various Year 11 subjects from curriculum co-ordinators and guest presenters from TAFE Illawarra and the University of Wollongong. Students then participated in the annual Women in Careers Expo in the SGN Hall.
Various local employers, business owners, TAFE and UOW staff attended the expo. Students were able to ask questions about careers, training requirements, employment conditions and opportunities for work experience and post school employment.
I would like to thank everyone who assisted in making the day very successful, including our guests and St Mary's College Staff.
Last Friday, 24 May, the College held a Cake Baking sale to raise funds to send to the families in Bacolod, Philippines.
I would like to thank everyone who baked cakes, bought cakes and volunteered their recess and lunch-time helping myself and Ms Walsh with this fundraiser. The event raised almost $700!
We have also received many clothing donations to send to the families. They will use these items to wear and make blankets, baskets, towels etc...
Our European History Study Tour
On 13 April, 38 girls and 4 teachers farwelled their families as they embarked on their European Voyage of culture, adventure and fun.
Please follow their journey by clicking on the link in the download section.
First Aid Qualifications
All Stage 6 VET students alongside Year 11 Marine Studies and PDHPE students recently completed a full First Aid Course at the College. The course required the students to complete an online knowledge component and a practical assessment. Upon the completion of this course, the students are now compliant with Workplace Health and Safety requirements.
The Course was run by the Royal Lifesaving Society and provided the students with the knowledge and skills required to administer first aid to a victim of illness or injury until the arrival of professional medical help.
The Royal Life Saving First Aid certificate is valid for three years and the Resuscitation component valid for 12 months. Students should now feel confident in their ability to recognise basic signs and symptoms of various illnesses and injury and subsequent provision of appropriate treatment or assistance. As an added bonus, they obtained an Industry standard qualification, a Statement of Attainment for HLTAID003 Provide First Aid from Royal Life Saving. This is a recognised qualification and a valued pre-requisite for employment.
Congratulations on the successful completion of this qualification and for taking the initiative in developing your skills for life allowing you to continue to contribute in a responsible way to the community.
On behalf of the students I would like to acknowledge Mr Lechner for his time and support in the planning and organisation of the course.
Financial Commitment: School Fee Statements have been issued to all families this term. This statement provides your Account Balance owing for the remainder of the year. Please note the Term 2 Fee Instalment payment was due by 30/05/19 or ensure regular instalments are being paid according to your agreed instalment arrangement.
School Fee Agreement Form: If you are paying via instalments and have not returned the School Fee Agreement Form to advise the College of your intended payment option please complete and return to the College as soon as possible. This Agreement gives the College advice regarding your preferred method and frequency of payment. Please contact the Fees Coordinator on 4253 5230 if you have not received your copy or to discuss your account further. A ‘School Fee Calculator’ is also provided on the College website to assist families to determine their regular payment.
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.
Dean of Pastoral Care Report
Winter and Sports Uniform
Attention to our uniform has improved considerably over the last two weeks which is very encouraging and I thank all students and parents for their efforts in the transition to the winter uniform and ensuring the correct sport uniform is being worn - it is important for this trend to continue. After a brief bout of near summer weather last week can I remind all students that blazers are to be worn to and from school.
All students and parents at our school 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 Password: 15success
This weekâs focus is on Home Study Environment which is a key aspect leading into our busy assessment period. See the link below.
All Schools Swimming
The St Maryâs All Age Relay team achieved a personal best time to finish with a Bronze Medal at the recent NSW All Schools Swimming Championships. Congratulations to our swimmers: Jessica Cole, Aya Milton, Grace Ohara, Sarah Locke, Isabella Green and Jasmine Locke.
In individual events, Isabella Green won a Silver Medal in the 16 yrs 100m Freestyle and gained selection in the NSW All Schools team to compete at the National Schools Swimming Championships in Melbourne. Good luck Isabella!
Vocational Education and Training (VET) Work Placement
During weeks three and four this term, Year 11 students studying VET Business Services, VET Hospitality and VET Information and Digital Media Technologies courses completed their first work placement opportunity.
Work placement is a planned opportunity in a quality host workplace that enables senior students studying particular industry-based courses to practise and develop their industry competencies and their employability skills in a real work context.
Work placement is a mandatory component of industry-based vocational education and training (VET) courses studied during the HSC qualification.
Many of the students were nervous about leaving the safe confines of our College to go out and be immersed in the real world of work. Prior to going out on placement the students completed an online work ready program which assisted them to get the most out of their work placement by identifying the skills and competencies they wanted to focus on during their time in the workplace. This course required the students to complete a mandatory module comprising Work Health and Safety, Personal Attributes and Employment Related Skills. They were also required to complete the specific Industry Competencies for their pattern of study. After the completion of these modules the girls qualified for a Work Placement Ready Certificate.
It was an absolute pleasure for Ms Iannella and myself to go out on site visitations. Seeing the girls immersing themselves in the workforce and developing
their skills and confidence was definitely a highlight. It was also pleasing to receive an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from the host employers
about our girls' skills and work ethic. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Workplace Learning Illawarra and the many and varied host employers
for their ongoing support and mentorship of our VET students.
Below are a few of our students comments about their work placement experience:
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on work placement at Smart Financial, Shellharbour. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain insight and a sense of what my future could look like working within the Business Industry. During my week, I completed a range of interesting tasks such as: scanning and filing documents, entering data into the computer system, personal assistant jobs, taking notes during financial advisory appointments, greeting clients and making coffee. My time at Smart Financial allowed my confidence and skill levels to grow and I now look forward to my second work placement next year.
Alexia Lara - Year 11 Business Services
During week three, I was given the opportunity to participate in work placement for Business Services at the Novotel Wollongong. This experience gave me my first insight into what a real workplace was like. I loved wearing corporate clothing and being in the office environment. I really enjoyed the overall experience of business administration and I now want to pursue a career in HR (Human Resources).
Zara Simeon - Year 11 Business Services
On our first day of Work Placement, we arrived early in the morning to the Sage Hotel Wollongong where our nerves were high and uncertainty levels even higher. After being shown to the main kitchen by reception, all those feelings disappeared. We stepped into a relaxing environment with friendly staff and we were introduced to the Executive and Sous Chef, Brad and Mitch. Once we became familiar with the kitchen and environment, the fun began. Music played and jokes were made as we worked alongside the chefs to improve our knife skills, vacuum packing, learning about stock rotation, designing function platters and small dish preparations.
Chandra Sing - Year 11 Hospitality
Work placement was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I learn a lot about the trade, I also learned a lot about working within a team. I went to Zweefers Cakes in Fairy Meadow. Starting at 6am, I went into the week preparing myself for 7 hours of washing dishes but as soon as I walked in, they offered me numerous tasks ranging from making fruit tarts to meat pies to decorating cakes to making quiches. Everyone who worked there moved efficiently as a team and acted like a family - including me in their jokes and fun from the second I walked in. I could not have asked for a better place to spend this week and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Ruby Wall - Year Hospitality
During week 3, I had the chance to go to Tonitto’s Cakes in Port Kembla for my first Hospitality work placement. During this experience I learned what it was like to work in the pastry/dessert industry. I was able to challenge myself and develop skills in filling cannoli, making over 2000 fondant flowers, helping ice and decorate cakes, and watching the pastry chefs show me how they work together as a team. I had the time of my life.
Jana Matar - Year 11 Hospitality
âMaking music in our community...
Stage 6 students have had the opportunity to further develop their performance and ensemble skills by providing live music at a number of recent community events.
In early May, music students Holly Severn and Kasey Mahar were joined by cultural captain Scarlett Potter to open the "Bloomin' Art" exhibition at the Wollongong Art Gallery. The girls sang and played nature-themed songs which complemented the floral sculptures and paintings. They were excellent performers and it was amazing to hear their songs fill the levels of the gallery.
Last Friday, music students Veronica Negro, Alisha Dunstan and Isabelle Carolan took a walk back in time, forming a chamber trio to play the music of Mozart, Handel and Bach at the Catholic Care Volunteers Appreciation Day. Their beautiful music was appreciated by the Bishop and all the volunteers in attendance.
I want to thank all the students for sharing their talents with our community.
âGirls on the tools!
our VET Entertainment students have been getting a masterclass in the art of deconstruction with Mr Luck!
Using power tools, the girls were taking apart the Milk Bar/Dance Studio set used in our recent production of "Strictly Ballroom." Under Mr Luck's expert tutelage, the girls are learning how to use power tools safely and how to 'bump out' the staging, so it can be re-purposed for future shows.
Thanks to the girls for their enthusiasm and to Mr Luck for his support and guidance.
Congratulations to the following girls who gained selection in the NSW CCC Netball teams.
Under 16's Team: Claudia McGoldrick and Mia Evans were selected, whilst Gabby Eaton made it to the “Possible and Probable” squad as a bottom age player.
Opens Team: Selene Chadrawy, Annalise Chadrawy and Emily Stewart were selected.
What an outstanding achievement for our College to have five NSW CCC representatives!
Well done girls and we wish you all the very best at the next level of competition to select the NSW All Schools teams.
Congratulations to Mia Evans on gaining selection in the NSW All Schools Netball team! Mia will attend a training camp during week one of next Term before competing at the School Sport Australia Netball Championships. We wish her all the best.
Congratulations to Paris Bamford and Claudia Decker on their selection in the NSW CCC Under 16 AFL team – our FIRST EVER AFL representatives at this level of competition. Well done girls and good luck at the All Schools selections.
Bill Turner Trophy
Last Tuesday, 21 May our U15’s Soccer team played Figtree High School in the second round of the statewide Bill Turner Trophy competition. After a dismal first half, St Mary's trailed Figtree High School 0-2 and their time in the competition seemed to be coming to a close.
A half-time re-focus saw a more motivated and determined St Mary's team dominate the second half, scoring two goals of their own and sending the game into golden goal extra time. Within minutes of the re-start Holly Penning scored the winner with St Mary's progressing through to the next round of the competition against Vincentia High School. Congratulations to all players on a spirited fight-back and a well-deserved victory.