Can you believe it's nearly September already!
Upon discussions with both my family and peers, I am amazed at how quickly this year has gone and often we find ourselves reflecting on things we have missed. To say the least, 2020 hasn’t been the year we expected and staying connected has proven to be difficult during these times.
The continuing initiative and positivity from the current leadership team, community and staff to stay connected throughout 2020 has greatly inspired me upon election of College Captain for 2021. As a leader, I am committed to continuing this connectivity through my actions, thinking of the lessons I have learnt from 2020 to bring a new perspective to 2021.
Earlier this month, the 2021 Leadership Team and I participated in a two-day workshop. This, of course, was different this year but remained a very worthwhile experience for us. The atmosphere of these days was so vibrant with each of the incoming captains bringing their own ‘zest’ and eagerness to their respective roles. We hope that 2021 brings a little more 'normality' to our lives, but we also acknowledge how much 2020 has taught us about ourselves and our community; these lessons are what excite us for next year’s endeavours.
I am amazed at the resilience of the Class of 2020, who, through this year have stayed strong in such uncertain times for their HSC year. I thank the girls of Year 12 for their contributions to St Mary’s since 2015 and commend their ability to maintain a smile each and every day. Year 12, best wishes for your exams and simply, thank you for being amazing role models for our College community!
I anticipate 2021 to be a great year. I think many of us are excited to see what next year will bring and all the new lessons we can learn, as well as reconnecting with each other in all aspects of College life.
I wish everyone the very best, let us make 2021 a great year - together.
Ciara Donnelly, College Captain (2021)
“Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8
As many things happen around the world today, it is hard to focus our prayers and thoughts on singular moments in life. We are reminded that although we cannot individually send these thoughts and prayers personally, God has given us a way. It is to him that we lift our souls and our very beings.
Lord, as we draw near to you in this very moment, we ask that you guide us, that you cover us, that you hold us in the palm of your hand and cover us with your ever present love. It is this that we need, as we long for hope. Hope for a world to be more loving to one another, hope that your pure love might cover us both in our celebrations as well as in our mourning.
God, we are so grateful for our neighbours around the world to whom we can offer our love and from whom we also receive so much love. Although we may not be able to send our specific love and prayers to each one of them, we ask for you to send them love on our behalf. We are so grateful that no matter where we go or what we do, we can walk knowing that we have your love on our backs and hope in our pockets. Be with our neighbours, Lord, and rekindle in us the need to come closer together even as we safely stay apart.
Let me hear of your steadfast love.
Foley House Captain
As with many other planned events for 2020, many cultural events have also been cancelled this year. Despite some restrictions, many students and staff have been working hard behind the scenes to keep the College cultural life alive!
In Term 1, the Languages Club held their Shrove Tuesday Pancake Sale which was a huge success, as students from Italian and French classes helped spread culture and language around the College. Another group, the String Ensemble, currently comprising of Year 10 students has been working hard with the help of Ms Lockett and Mrs Phillips preparing to film a recording in the SGN Hall…stay tuned for this surprise later in the Term!
As we end Week 6, Year 12 are embarking on their final few weeks at the College. This includes their HSC Dance, Drama, Music 1, Music 2, Visual Arts and Language exams as well as practical work submissions. We wish them all the best with their creative endeavours and are sure that they will receive brilliant marks!
Tani Phillips and Ivy Sucur
Personal Project Virtual Exhibition
The virtual exhibition of the Year 10 Personal Project Exhibition is now available to view online:
Special thanks to Keyala Curran, Haryse De Jesus, Amelia Goncalves and Lily Grantham who recorded all the video footage of the students and their work. I hope you enjoy watching and listening to the students presenting their projects.
The Personal Project has now come to an end for Year 10 as they submitted their final report this week.
Many thanks to their families and friends who have no doubt been on this journey with them.
Mrs Christine Rutherford
Personal Project Coordinator
The Art Club
The Art Club has been able to meet several times this year with students loving to meet up with their friends to have some serious ‘Art Fun.’
The Art Club sincerely appreciates the generous funding from the Parents and Friends Association. The funding has enabled us to purchase a wide range of art materials and resources such as: card making tools, scratch-it art items, small canvases and an assortment of paints, pencils and drawing objects.
Within our club, we strive to create a collaborative, welcoming community. Although different, our members share an interest in art and enjoy making all different types of creative pieces. Students from all Year groups join us at lunch time on Day 4 in the art rooms. Art Club participants work independently and together to share the love of creating, which is achieved through sketching, painting and designing.
One of our most memorable activities this year has been creating beautifully painted rocks with different colours, patterns and textures.
Our leaders, Ashley and Alishba ensure our meetings are interactive, educational and most importantly, loads of fun e.g. demonstrations, projects, art homework and community competitions and activities.
We would like to thank Mrs Boyle, who supervises our club and makes sure everyone is having a good time. Her enthusiasm is contagious and raises the spirit of the Art Club every year.
Alishba Rashid and Ashley Todorovski
Art Club Leaders
The Mathematics Enrichment Club
The Mathematics Enrichment Club (MEC), which has been running at St Mary's for over 10 years offers students the opportunity to participate in challenging programs offered by the Australian Mathematics Trust based in Canberra.
This year several students from Year 7 to Year 10 participated in The Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians – Challenge Stage. By participating in this program, the students gain a greater interest and awareness of the power of mathematics. Students succeed in solving stimulating mathematical problems. The students learn how to read and understand problems and to discuss strategies in solving a variety of mathematical problems.
The students meet each Tuesday at lunchtime to work on the questions, supported by Dr Kusters-Sztaba and Mrs Struthers and are commended for their commitment.
Over 1100 students attempted the Intermediate Challenge Stage. Three Year 10 students from our school attempted this Stage and all three achieved pleasing results. Emily Giacometti (86th percentile) was awarded a High Distinction, Karen Ding (68th percentile) a Distinction and Lauren Rooke (55th percentile) a Credit in this division.
Over 2100 students across Australia attempted the Junior Mathematics Challenge Stage. Chelsea Zaffonato (85th percentile) was awarded a Distinction in this division. Malak Afqi, Risha Kana, Nour Sultan, Codie Weber and Sara Tubbal also submitted answers.
All of these students are commended for their commitment to the Maths Challenge, especially with the challenge of COVID-19 and working from home.
Mrs Ros Struthers and Dr Jola Kusters-Sztaba
Year 8 IDS: A WORLD of Wonder
Within the Year 8 Interdisciplinary Studies Program (IDS) and as part of the STEM rotation, students had a task to create a two to three minute film that communicates a "Wonder" question and some of the possible answers to that question. This film needed to be engaging, informative and entertaining and needed to interest a student of their age.
STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Innovation is inspired by wonder and driven by connection and logic.
Scientific and technical innovation.
Creativity, connection and logic.
What is wonder?
What is the relationship between wonder and innovation?
Has the internet killed the need for anyone to wonder?
These are a few of the films:
Jenna Chiodo: Why do we wake up before the alarm clock rings?
Ailani Zipparo: Why can apes talk?
Bethany Halmarick: Why did life first start? [2.19]
Jade Russell: Why do we dream?
Scout Tardent-Tong: What is the voice in our head?
Jessica Lo Surdo: Why are the majority of people right handed and what makes us right handed or left handed? [2.09]
Mrs Patricia O'Gorman
Pastoral Administration Coordinator
Marine Studies - Year 11
It has been a busy Term for our Marine Studies students. On Thursday, 13 August both Year 11 Marine Studies classes attended a First Aid Course held in D30A. The course was originally planned to be completed in Term 1 but was rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Throughout the day we learnt valuable skills such as CPR, how to use an EpiPen and how to treat different types of injuries. It was a very enjoyable day, especially during the practical component! We were particular in wearing our new marine-themed masks made by Mrs Armitage and Miss Brown. We would like to thank Tammy from Royal Life Saving NSW for guiding us through the course.
In conjunction with Marine Studies, both classes had the opportunity to learn how to properly prepare and cook fresh fish and prawns. Using the wisdom of Mr Selby, we learnt how to scale, gut, and fillet the fish. It was an insightful (yet slightly fishy) experience. Miss Pandevski made a guest appearance in both lessons to assist in the peeling, preparation and disposal of the Garlic Prawns dish.
We would also like to thank Ms Curran, the Hospitality Assistant for her help on the day.
Maheen Khan and Alexa Giacometti
Well-being Workshops - Year 11
During Weeks 2 and 4 this Term, Year 11 students participated in a range of well-being workshops as part of their Pastoral Care program.
Activities included: Belly Dancing, Meditation, Math Study Skills, Prelim Study Skills, Knitting, Healthy Nutrition, Mental Health Strategies, Physical Activity and Social Justice.
The opportunity to participate in these activities meant that students could take a break from the regular school routine, learn new skills, have fun with their peers and engage in positive self-care practices. For example: in the Nutrition Workshop students learnt about brain foods and ate a selection of healthy snacks whilst watching a demonstration of how to make a quick and easy meal. In the Knitting Workshop students were able to unwind and relax, chatting with their peers whilst learning the basics of knitting.
Year 11 students had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the activities. Thanks and gratitude go to the teachers who ran the activities and made it such a positive experience for students.
Lyons House Coordinator
Sportswoman of the Week
Cate Gaison: Year 7
Cate Gaison is one of St Mary’s newest sporting stars and although she has only been a part of the school community for three Terms, she has already made her mark in the sporting arena.
Although this year hasn't had much on offer in the way of sporting events, Cate, has thrown herself at every opportunity available and executed the competition with style and talent. So far, we have only been able to hold the swimming carnival and a modified cross country for Years 7 and 8. In both events Cate took home the win and the title of Age Champion. With these early wins, we are sure Cate is an up and coming star! One to look out for during her future years at the College.
After interviewing Cate, it is evident she has a true passion for sport, as she trains and competes in a wide variety of sports: soccer, swimming and running. Cate informed me, that she finds sport is a great way to escape the time pressures of school and technology, as well as a perfect opportunity to meet new friends with common interests.
Overall, Cate represents what it means to be a St Mary’s girl and although she is in Year 7, it is evident that she embodies the spirit and positive attitude that is key to success and domination. For these reasons, it is why Cate Gaison is our Year 7 Sportswoman of the Week.
Cate’s motto is - “No matter how hard something seems, keep striving and don’t give up, as good things will eventually happen if you try your hardest and put in the effort.”
"For Lebanon” Fundraiser
On 4 August a horrific incident in Lebanon's capital occurred; a massive explosion in Beirut's Port. The explosion caused what was already a shaken country, to stress even more. Homes were destroyed, lives were lost and much more chaos caused.
Being Lebanese made me more passionate about helping the people of Lebanon more, so I reached out to staff and a few friends in order to organise an event to raise awareness about what had happened in Lebanon. An idea of making ribbons in the colours of the Lebanon flag came to mind as well as a presentation shown in Tutor Groups and add a bit of Arabic music during recess and lunch. The school showed awesome compassion and generosity by donating money to assist the people of Lebanon.
I would like to thank everyone who assisted me in organising this event and I appreciate your generosity helping to raise an amazing amount of money - over $1500. The money will go a long way to help so many in Lebanon and is being donated through the Lebanese Red Cross.
Thank you to staff and students.
Nour Latif, Year 11
Hearing about the incident in Beirut affected me even as an Australian girl with no Lebanese heritage. Some of my long-time friends are very in touch with their Lebanese culture, however, this event has the power to conjure emotions within anyone's heart, no matter their connection to Lebanon.
Making the Powerpoint presentation for Tutor Groups opened my eye to a world of politics and corruption that I had never been aware of. Had the same circumstances been placed in Australia or the USA, the news coverage regarding the political issues of the government would be astronomical, so discovering this information about a country across the sea was informative and infuriating. The amount I didn’t know about, such a concerning issue, opened my eyes to the situations happening now that are flying under the radar. Learning about the situation in Lebanon has sparked interest in me to go out and find other situations that may not be receiving the awareness that they deserve.
What was even more eye-opening was the generosity of the St Mary’s girls on Friday, 14 August. Fellow organisers and I were worried about just how much money we would raise with several hundred ribbons and no cupcakes, but as always, the St Mary’s girls delivered with incredible generosity. Thank you to the students and staff for your considerate donations!
Megan Ashford, Year 11
Industrial Technology Multimedia Turns Green!
To compete and succeed in today's digital world, the girls at St Mary’s can learn how to design, create and present a host of multimedia solutions from Year 9 onwards when selecting Industrial Technology Multimedia. The Technologies Department has seen the construction of a green screen develop over the last two months. The green screen will be used primarily across our Stage 5 and 6 Industrial Technology Multimedia courses with students being able to use the space to create unique backgrounds and integrate these designs into their major and minor projects, allowing them to realise their own unique visions.
Students will also be able to drop any background into footage, allowing them to create amazing video footage from impossible worlds or hard to reach locations. A green screen is used in video production and photography. It is a technique that is found in industry; in television, film and game production. Students use multimedia equipment such as the green screen to develop their skills in virtual reality, augmented reality and video editing, development and production.
Today's students must be proficient and in many cases, have advanced knowledge related to a variety of multimedia outlets. The green screen presents the perfect opportunity for this. Industrial Technology is suited to a diverse range of students wishing to develop their practical skills and gain an understanding of the multimedia industry.
A huge thank you to Mr Rod Luck (TAS Assistant) who has worked tirelessly on this project!
Ms Allison Pace
On-line Parent Lounge and Statements
The College has made a number of improvements to the on-line Parent Lounge Portal, including the transition to online statements that will make it easier for you to manage your tuition fee account. The Parent Lounge now provides your current balance, regular Term statements and the ability to make credit card payments.
You can still make BPay transactions via your financial institution, alternatively contact the College to establish a regular Direct Debit arrangement.
Login details and instructions have previously been provided but if you have any issues or questions please email our ICT Department via firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuition Fee Update
A friendly reminder that Term 3 Tuition Fees are due for payment so please ensure that regular instalments are being paid according to your agreed payment arrangement. If you intend to pay via lump sum instalments you must complete and return the School Fee Agreement as soon as possible.
A ‘School Fee Calculator’ is available on the College website to assist families in calculating their regular payment amount.
For further clarification on tuition fees please refer to the Fee Management Policy on the College website, alternatively contact the Fees Coordinator on 4253 5230.
Checking-In - R We OK?
Throughout this term, the Pastoral Team has been very conscious of the compounding impacts of the experiences of this year. In many ways, it is easy to almost forget that in January we faced the bushfire crisis and for many of us our families have experienced trauma and loss that ordinarily would be enough to challenge on their own. As a College we are committed to the care of our students and in providing a safe and supportive community. Therefore we are taking some time to stop and check-in with the girls.
During this week and next, House Coordinators and House staff are spending time with students in small groups to check in with them in light of all that is going on. In some ways, it is sadly too easy, even amongst this pandemic, to become complacent and assume that everyone is okay. We are very aware that this may not be the case for everyone and it is important and essential to pause for some time to reflect; to share our experiences. The sessions with students have provided the opportunity to discuss the impacts, worries and losses but also to highlight the moments of joy; to practise gratitude. We have discussed with the students the importance of self-care and seeking support. It is proving to be a valuable experience for students and staff. Some students have commented that it has given insights into our shared experience but also how different the experience may be for their peers.
We encourage you to also discuss with your daughters how they are managing this year and remind them that as challenging as 2020 is, there is support for them in many ways.
Further to this, we are conscious of the impact this year has had on parent connections and our ability to provide you with support. As a result, we invite you to spend some time online with us on Wednesday, 9 September. We see this as a chance to connect and share with you our insights into this year in relation to your daughters. The event will launch our newly developed Parent Wellbeing Hub - a one stop online resource hub to support you in your role as parents or carers to adolescents. The hub is already ‘live’ and linked to your SEQTA Parent Engage Portal on the welcome page.
Miss Emma Magill
Assistant Principal - Dean of Pastoral Care
From the Principal
Dear Parents and Carers
Perhaps one of the positive things to have emerged from our experience of COVID-19 has been to remind us of the importance of living in the present. In the very busy world in which we all live in 2020, we can easily fall into the trap of constantly looking forward and in the process, failing to cherish the moment.
School life, like home life, is so full of activity that not only is it difficult to avoid the frenetic pace of life, at times it appears impossible. It is common for all of us to find ourselves for ever looking forward; to the next event, the next commitment, the next appointment, the next meeting, the next training, the next holiday and so on and so on. Currently, we are looking ahead to determine a way that we can honor our Year 12 girls and their families by way of graduation and we are intently planning for the 2021 school year; enrolment and orientation of new students, budgets, staffing, timetable and so on. And the cost of this can be that we risk missing the richness of the opportunities and experiences of the present.
It is important to remind ourselves that life is for living now; that faster and busier is not necessarily better or more exciting; that things will not necessarily fulfill us in the way we are encouraged to believe and that time is a precious resource that we each have a responsibility to manage thoughtfully. The only time we can control is the present and the only reality we have is now. To be forever looking forward to the next thing seriously risks missing the gifts and opportunities of the present.
It can be difficult to get off the treadmill. However, it is important that there are times in our lives when we live in the present, if for no other reason but that that is where life is.This understanding will enrich our relationships and may even relieve some of the pressures that come with expectations about what the future might be or should be.
The recent display of Personal Projects by our Year 10 girls was impressive. The intelligence, creativity and values that were reflected in the projects reaffirmed for me that our College and our community is in the safest of hands. Congratulations and thank you to the Year 10 girls who in the main, completed their projects with due diligence. Thank you also to Mrs Christine Rutherford for her leadership and mentoring of the girls throughout the process and to all members of the College teaching staff for their mentoring roles.
Mr Tony Fitzgerald
College Photo Day - 31 August
31 August - Year 12 return to class
2 September - ICAS Math Competition
8 September - Year 11 Preliminary Exams commence
16 September - UOW Interschool Debating Competition via ZOOM
21 September - Prelim Exams conclude
22 September - Year 11 return to class
Save the Date
P&F AGM and General Meeting
Tuesday, 15 September 2020, 7.00pm
Zoom login details to follow
To review and update your daughter’s details including important medical data, please click on this LINK