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The magazine of Brigidine College St Ives

the bridge Issue 1 2017



flourishing with strength




the bridge Contents Featured

Why Walk When You Can Dance?

HSC Results

Curriculum Dance is now offered to Years 9 to 12 at Brigidine

Congratulations to the Class of 2016 on their outstanding achievements


Find out the benefits of attending an all girls’ school and what it means to be a Brigidine girl, featuring some of our very own alumni

See what a group of our senior students got up to on their overseas trip

Camps and Retreats were held over one of Sydney’s wettest weeks of the year – but that didn’t stop our girls!

Students develop skills in leadership, resilience and teamwork through participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award




In the Spotlight

Flourishing With Strength and Gentleness 10


the Editor

Welcome to the first issue for 2017 and our ‘new look’! With all the exciting new things happening at Brigidine this year it seemed only fitting to give The Bridge a new face to match. I’m really excited about this issue and not just because of the new design, but because the content makes for a fantastic read, one which is not only enjoyable, but insightful, aspirational and educational too. Being part of the College’s Marketing Team, we’re often asked ‘But what is it about Brigidine that makes it different from every other school?” It’s an interesting question to consider.

Girl Power


Annual Giving 2017


P&F Great Gatsby


Melbourne Cup Ladies Lunch


Event Highlights

Resilience and Relationship Building

Creating Future Leaders


Cultural Tour to the UK 4

Latest News

Brigidine’s Positive Education framework


New Classrooms and Study Spaces Final touches added as Stage 3 of the College’s Master Plan building works nears completion

Being a Brigidine Girl

Our Community

Farewell to Longstanding Staff


Welcome to New Staff


I attended Brigidine myself, graduating in 2001, and even for me it was a tricky one to answer. So we decided to go straight to the ‘finished product’ by asking some of our alumni what they think it means to be a Brigidine girl, and we were so impressed with their responses that we decided to make it the feature story! So many of our alumni are achieving amazing things and it’s great to be able to share their stories with the wider Brigidine community. You can read all about it on page 4, and don’t forget that you can always find out about what our alumni are up to in the Back to Brigidine section of every issue. So, what do I think it means to be a Brigidine girl? It’s having the courage and confidence to go into the world knowing that, with hard work, resilience, perseverance, adaptability and of course, strength and gentleness, you really can achieve anything you put your



Swimming Carnival


Sport and Cocurricular Clubs Sport Highlights


Centre for Excellence


Back to Brigidine Alumni Events


Births and Weddings


Where Are They Now?


mind to, and if you fail you’ll only learn from your mistakes and do it better next time. These qualities stay with you forever, and could never be learnt from a simple textbook. I’ll finish with a quote that really sums it all up, which my Principal, John Bowie, used to say in his assembly addresses: “Girls can do anything. But Brigidine girls can do everything.” And indeed, we can. These pages are certainly testament to that. Enjoy! Aleisha Conlay Editor



HSC Results Congratulations to the Class “of 2016 on their excellent results. Their success is their reward for taking up the challenge of a rigorous study program and their determination to achieve. The excellent ATARs which followed their HSC results are testament to their commitment to be the best they can be. I extend my sincere thanks to our dedicated staff who have worked diligently and expertly in supporting the girls through their years at Brigidine. JANE CURRAN, PRINCIPAL

Completion of the Higher School Certificate and all the years of study leading up to Year 12 is the culmination of so many experiences and achievements. The College community congratulates all the girls from the Class of 2016. Some of the highlights from the results for the Class of 2016 are: Top Achievers in the State: • 1st – Emily Dalwood for Business Studies (Emily also placed 9th in State for HSC Studies of Religion II in 2015) • 1st – Ella McCrindle for Drama • 5th – Sara MacPhail for TVET Human Services (Nursing) • 8th – Tiegan Denina for Music 1 • 13th – Sophia Tonoli for Business Studies.

Seventeen students are All Rounders. An All Rounder is a student who has scored over 90 in at least 10 units. We congratulate Alexandra Bradley, Amelia Breen, Aimee Carroll, Tiegan Denina, Rebecca Feather, Barbara Honeysett, Emma Hughes, Therese Kelly, Ella McCrindle, Ciara Mulkeen, Emily New, Lucy Pirrie, Amelia Pitney, Emma-Jane Rhodes, Francesca Rowlinson, Laura Slocombe and Sophia Tonoli. 79 students (48%) appeared on the Distinguished Achievers List.

Ella McCrindle (left) and Emily Dalwood achieved First in Course

Ranked in the top 50 of the State (non‑selective school).

• Eliza Tysoe for her Individual Performance, The Client.

It is notable that there was depth to the academic success of the 164 eligible students:

Nominations for ArtExpress (Visual Arts):

• 6 students achieved an ATAR over 99

• Lucy Pirrie – We Can Be Heroes.

• 30 students achieved an ATAR over 95 (18% cohort)

Nominations for Callback (Dance):

• 52 students achieved an ATAR over 90 (32% cohort)

• Natalie Herrera – Core Performance

• 80 students achieved an ATAR over 85 (52% cohort) • 100 students achieved an ATAR over 80 (61% cohort). Nominations for OnStage (Drama):

• Natalie Herrera – Core Composition • Adele Samus – Core Performance • Adele Samus – Major Study Performance Please note that this is our first HSC Dance class at the College. Nominations for Encore (Music):

• Georgia Nolan, Cassidy Burgess, Alana Su-Navratil and Charlotte Bull for their Group Performance, Population 327

• Tiegan Denina – Vocal Performance.

• Eliza Tysoe, Ella McCrindle, Claudia Bailey and Kathryn Palmer for their Group Performance, A Place to Stay • Aimee Carroll, Adele Samus, Ciara Mulkeen and Amelia Pitney for their Group Performance, The Trials • Ella McCrindle for her Individual Performance, Ain’t Love Grand?

Tiegan Denina

• Zoe MacPhail – The Great De‑Bait

• Kathryn Palmer for her Individual Performance, The Bit About The Kid

“2016 has continued the trend of exceptional individual results across all subjects. Our girls are encouraged to pursue subjects they enjoy and in which they feel they have a talent. They are also encouraged to pursue rigorous courses if they have the ability. The breadth and depth of their achievement and the powerful contribution these choices have made to the girls’ ATARs is a testament to the value of this approach.”


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a Brigidine Girl?

Why a girls’ school? On the surface, in our comfortable urban environment in a country blessed with advantage, the notion of a gendered school might seem insignificant. But, for us, the reality is that our school is single sex, girls only, and there are many reasons for this. Historically, schools developed as single sex because of a societal perception that the sexes should be separated for a variety of reasons which had little to do with education. Now, in this 21stC, the question arises as to the efficacy of separation, especially in relation to a modern world which recognises the principle of gender equality, even if that principle is not yet fully realised in practice. It would be fair to say that most Australians believe that this will occur and are optimistic about its eventuality. So why would we choose to educate our daughters in a single sex school? It’s interesting to look at the research and what it tells us about education and gender. There is the assumption that isolating girls and boys in their educational environments plays into gender stereotypes but what we see


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each day at school refutes that and, instead, mirrors the diversity evident in our community. When they enter this school each day the girls can be themselves, as glorious as that is. They can laugh, cry, yell out loud, work hard or run around and make a fool of themselves – in the playground, on the stage or at their carnivals. They don’t have to impress anyone; just learn how to be themselves. And while they are learning how to be themselves, they are in an environment that supports their growth, allows them to make mistakes and helps them fix them. The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools in the USA released its paper ‘Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls’ Schools’ in 2016 and what they found was that girls at all-girls schools are more likely to have an experience that supports their learning than are girls in co-ed schools because 1. t hey have higher aspirations and are more motivated by their desire to succeed 2. t heir classes challenge them to achieve to their full academic potential 3. t hey engage more actively in the process of learning, especially in class discussions

4. t hey participate in activities that prepare them for the world outside of school, one in which they are able to connect ideas and link concepts 5. t hey feel more comfortable being themselves and expressing their ideas because they are in a culture of giving and receiving respect 6. t hey show greater gains on core academic and life skills, especially when confronted with challenging ideas 7. t hey feel more supported in their endeavours, especially in receiving feedback. In an all-girls’ school, girls are more likely to take a risk because, while they are growing, they know that it is safe to do so. Part of this comes about because of the way in which girls form friendship groups. These friendships enhance the confidence of young women and help in the formation of networks, allowing girls to feel more comfortable about taking a risk. Girls’ schools also provide nurturing environments which support the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of girls, including higher rates of participation in sport and a much lower risk of being bullied at school. Girls are

less fearful of risk and behave more competitively in single sex schools. Girls in single sex schools showed statistically significant improvement in both reading and mathematics and had better attendance rates (Bradley, K, 2009). Interestingly, at co-ed schools, if the number of girls in a class is increased, there is a positive impact on academic achievement for both boys and girls (Cabezas, V, 2010). There is also an increase in the amount of curriculum covered by the teacher. One significant difference is in the challenge to take up study in areas that have been traditionally earmarked for boys such as the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Global research in this area shows that girls in single sex schools gain confidence in Information Technology (Australia: Fisher,

Lang & Forgasz 2015), experience a positive and robust response to Mathematics (Switzerland: Eisenkopf et al 2015), and trend upwards in Mathematics and Science (Hong Kong: Diaconu 2012). In a report done on NAPLAN by the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation in 2014 it stated that there was significant academic advantage for both junior and senior secondary students in NSW single sex schools (Lu, L and Richard, K, 2014). So, where does that bring us? We are very happy with who we are and what we are doing, developing girls who will lead a world that will be a stronger and gentler place because they are in it, educated, confident leaders of tomorrow’s world. Jane Curran Principal

Reference list: NCGA, 2016, ‘Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools’ Bradley, K, 2009, ‘An investigation of single-sex education and its impact on academic achievement, discipline referral frequency, and attendance for first and second grade public school students’ Cabezas, V, 2010, ‘Gender peer effects in school: Does the gender of school peers affect student achievement?’ Lu, L and Richard, K, 2014, ‘Value added models for NSW government schools’, Centre for Statistics and Evaluation

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Brigidine Girl We asked some of our very own alumni, including two of our recent graduates, what they think it means to be a ‘Brigidine girl’ and how their education has helped them get to where they are today.

Angie Asimus Class of 2004 Seven News Reporter I will never forget my first day at Brigidine College. That’s mainly because my primary school years were spent at a small bush school, just outside Gundagai. At its smallest, we had just nine pupils. At its largest, there were 26. So, when I stepped out into the quadrangle as a Year 7 student, I had never seen so many girls my age in the one place and in uniform. What could have been an uncomfortable and intimidating experience became one of inclusion and acceptance. I was greeted with friendly smiles from my peers and reassuring conversations with my teachers. I was completely out of my comfort zone, yet somehow knew I would belong here.

Megan McGrath (Liddy) College Captain Class of 1993 Health and Wellness Coach I am enormously proud to be a Brigidine girl. For me, Brigidine was a community that encouraged us all to be our best. School offered me awesome challenges, incredible opportunities, friendships that will last a lifetime and a whole lot of fun. The teachers at Brigidine dared us to dream big and stretch beyond what we ever might imagine for ourselves. This gave us the belief and confidence that we are all gifted in an important and unique way and it’s our privilege and adventure to go out into the world and figure it out. I left school believing I could do anything; a quiet confidence in myself and my own potential. I initially went to university and did a Health Science Degree. Following this, I travelled through America and Europe before returning and immersing myself in Corporate Health, and then landed my dream job at the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. From there I transitioned into Sports and Event Management, had three beautiful babies (one of them now a Brigidine girl too) and, up until last year, worked as General Manager for one of Australia’s leading Foundations that inspires and empowers girls and women to fulfil their potential. Since then I have taken a huge leap of with encouragement, good marks and growing inner confidence. It’s wonderful that I can honestly say the friendships that developed during those years have lasted long past graduation day. Academically, Brigidine is also where I developed a true love of writing. My English teachers nurtured that passion in me and for that, I am forever grateful.

That really sums up the next six years of my life in high school.

Now, I am privileged to spend my working days telling other people’s stories as I write and present nightly reports for Seven News.

I learnt that putting myself in new and challenging situations would be rewarded

If I am writing, I am happy and thankfully that’s what I get to do every day.


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faith in launching my own business, Chasing Sunrise. Chasing Sunrise provides health and lifestyle solutions for women. I support and empower my clients to improve their wellness with simple strategies and routines to regain clarity and control, find balance in their day and develop healthy habits. A rollercoaster? For sure. Worth the ride? Definitely! I feel incredibly grateful to be living out my passion and purpose by inspiring others to improve their wellness. I will always be grateful to Brigidine for creating that spark to want a full and fulfilling life and the confidence to go out into the big wide world and figure out my “Why?”

Alice Edwards Class of 2015 Studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science at Macquarie University I was extremely fortunate to be able to go on an excursion to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research when I was in Year 11 at Brigidine. At that stage, I knew I loved science and reading about medical research, but I wasn’t sure as to whether I actually wanted to become a researcher. Somehow on this excursion, my opportunism and quiet assertiveness managed to grant me work experience in the cancer epigenetics lab, which focused on breast cancer research. This was the start of the beginning, as this experience confirmed my passion for science and


research. My drive became absolute – I will become a medical researcher, not I want to become a medical researcher. It will happen, dare you to try to stop me. I graduated in 2015, after a lot of understated hard work and persistence, and went straight into studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science majoring in Biomolecular Science at Macquarie University (a combination of biology and chemistry). In 2016, after sending numerous emails to research teams at the Garvan in different fields of research, I was able to convince another group to take me on for some more work experience. In early January 2017, I undertook a further two weeks of work experience, with the Neurodegenerative Diseases group which focused on Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease as well as stroke research. There I was able to develop new skills such as slicing frozen brain tissue. As my results at university had been consistently exemplar I was also accepted to volunteer for a three week paid vacation scholarship at Macquarie University in a research lab that focuses on investigating the chemical and biological properties of customary Indigenous medicinal plants. From this experience, I developed an array of

Megan Loone Class of 2016 Studying Bachelor of Accounting Co-Op program at UTS I am currently part of the Bachelor of Accounting Co-Op program at UTS, or “BAcc” as we most often call it. It is an intensive course for high-achieving students who view an accounting career as an excellent foundation for

new skills that I use frequently at uni today. The plants we studied had certain antiseptic properties that may help us develop new medicines in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria. Additionally, in July I will be taking on more work experience, volunteering for two weeks with a research team at Macquarie University that is investigating how we can use viruses in a new form of treatment for cancer patients. And all throughout this experience since graduating from Brigidine, I have felt such pride and gratitude for my teachers. I feel that Brigidine has left me very prepared for university – through encouraging us

to try the more challenging questions, to alter the way we approach difficult tasks, through improving my attitude towards studying and inspiring me to work as hard as I do, as through hard work, great things can be achieved. And so, whenever someone asks me which high school I went to, I am able to say with pride that I am a Brigidine girl. I feel that the strength to persist despite unexpected challenges that arise, and the gentleness that I possess in the form of almost infinite patience, is a result of my Brigidine upbringing. And as a scientist, in order to succeed, you must possess the strength to persist, and immeasurable patience.

future business leadership. Students receive a scholarship and two sixmonth internships to enrich their corporate experience and enhance their skills and knowledge of the industry. Graduates of this program are the future business leaders and decision-makers of the corporate world, which is why it has become one of the most highly regarded Business Degrees in Australia.

plethora of cocurricular activities, I was always curious to try something new, be it Duke of Edinburgh, Honours, Alliance of Girls’ Schools meetings, debating, dance, volleyball or aerobics and as a result, I am a product of a myriad of experiences. Brigidine helped me develop a determined attitude and confidence with which I will embark on my future.

However, the greatest benefit of all is the sense of community created within the program. Within the course, the 29 of us have very quickly become a family, purely because we are all like-minded and driven students, who are not only career-focused but genuinely pursue our diverse passions. It is a community similar to my Brigidine experience.

The best lesson I ever learnt at Brigidine was that the importance of a cocurricular life and personal development is greater than that of exam grades or assessment marks. Success is not being ‘textbook’ smart but rather, being a well-rounded person with an interesting story to tell. A Brigidine girl can speak passionately about her goals and aspirations, have the “spirit of a dreamer” while remaining genuine and authentic to herself.

High school was an enriching stage of my life because of the support offered by the Brigidine community. Constantly encouraging us to get involved in the

I’ll always be a Brigidine girl at heart.

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Future Leaders

At Brigidine, girls from Years 9–12 have the opportunity to challenge themselves through participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DEA), an internationally recognised youth development program that empowers young individuals aged between 14 and 25 to challenge themselves and seek to achieve their full potential. The Award can be achieved at three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, with each level having five components: physical recreation, community service, skill, a practice journey and a qualifying journey. Each component sets out to challenge individuals and build skills and values that

will equip them for life and future career pathways. With opportunities for our girls to get physically active, give service and experience adventure, the award can play a critical role in their development, helping participants cultivate leadership, resilience, self-motivation, independence, teamwork and responsibility, which can be transferred to other areas of their lives. Brigidine offers a strong and challenging expedition program as part of the award, which has seen exemplary examples of leadership, teamwork and compassion from our girls. At times there have been a few tears and conflict resolution as well, all of which are good character and strength building skills that can be embedded in all DEA participants.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award continues to thrive at Brigidine, with both the number of girls enrolling in each award level growing, along with the number of girls completing each award, particularly the Gold award. A recent addition to the Brigidine DEA program is the Fiji Experience, an 11-day trip in which Gold award participants have the opportunity to travel to Fiji to complete their Practice Hike and Residential component. Here are some student reflections about their Fiji Experience, held September to October 2016. Skye Wacher Convenor, Duke of Edinburgh

the best connections “withI’vethemade Fijians and the amazing girls that travelled with me which I will treasure for life. The Fijians may not have as many things as we do in Australia but I’ve realised they are so much richer in the connections they have with each other and their family. This has been a life changing trip.


The Duke of Edinburgh Award can be likened to a personal journey. For some, that journey is relatively short and finishes at the end of the Bronze award, but for others like myself who work towards the Gold award, the journey takes longer and is more challenging. More than anything, the award rouses your emotions, and throughout my journey I have experienced all sorts of feelings, from exhausted and frustrated, to exhilarated and fulfilled. While I’m proud of having achieved this award, more than this I’m thankful for the


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experiences it has provided and am confident that these will stand me in good stead as I prepare to embark on the next stage of my life, outside of school. This program has enabled me to grow as a person, as a young woman, and as a leader. I’ve gained skills that have allowed me to persevere through difficulties that I may not have ever experienced elsewhere, and to create lifelong friendships with my peers. Chelsea Reed DEA Gold Awardee, Year 12 2016


me, Fiji was about learning “to For give and experience the selflessness and compassion of the Fijian people. The 10 days spent hiking, canoeing and assisting at the school all had one underlying theme – compassion; a quality so underappreciated in the world. Going to Fiji not only made me appreciate that quality of compassion but also taught me to open my eyes and see the love in everything. It was an experience of a lifetime, one I will never forget.


Visiting the Fijian villages along the way reminded me of how lucky I am but also how happy they are with so little. The concept of time in Fiji is non-existent, they are so relaxed and easy-going. It was such a nice contrast to the fast-paced society of Australia. Fiji has taught me to take things day by day, which I think is a valuable lesson going into Year 12. I believe this trip has given me the perspective I needed and I can finally see that I am grateful for what I have with family and experience. Jacinta Neal DEA Gold participant, Year 12 2017 The Fiji Experience 2016 was the most powerful and rewarding experience of my life. Every second we were completely immersed in the culture and the lives of the traditional Fijians of Nadi and South Sea Island. Our eyes were widened and our hearts opened as the families and communities provided so much for us on both educational and recreational levels. As we hiked the highlands we experienced the Fijian heat, and as we paddled the Sigatoka, the rain poured, but we learnt the value of determination.


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Strength & Gentleness

There is no simple 3-step solution and no single guidebook for the role of parenting and educating young women. As an educator, I have learned to respect and listen to the teachings and guidance of those who work in this field and have earned the right to comment through the breadth and importance of their work. One such person is Michael Carr-Gregg, an adolescent psychologist who I have heard speak many times at conferences and events. His experience and awareness of the needs of young women is something I always learn from and take time to ponder. In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald he said, “(In Australia) we’ve kind of fixed up everyone’s bathrooms and gardens and houses… now we also need to look at the inside… and not be so negative. Let’s talk about the positives and the joy. There is so much negativity.” (Carr‑Gregg, 2017)

justice initiatives are ideal ways for your daughter to be connected and grounded in activity during adolescence. “With so many voices in their ears you’ve got to make yours the loudest and do it in a way that you are not shrill, or repetitive or boring.” (Carr‑Gregg, 2017) Your voice, with ours in partnership, needs to speak ‘loudest’ to the girls in our care. At Brigidine College we have a plan to enable more students to flourish and achieve to their potential. Our Positive Education framework, ‘Flourishing with Strength and Gentleness’, is designed to focus on six critical areas and give students both the language and the mindset to continually improve and develop holistically into the fine young women we know they are able to be.

At Brigidine College we have “a plan to enable more students to flourish and achieve to their potential.

The six areas are simple enough to state, but putting them into practice in one’s daily life provides a consistent and positive framework for navigating life. With Michael Carr-Gregg’s sound advice and a solid positive education framework to work from we can provide the right words and encouragement for our girls in 2017 and beyond. Brian Loughland Assistant Principal Pastoral Care

There is truth in that. We can all worry about the state of our daughter’s room, which he describes nicely as a ‘floor‑drobe’, and we can talk about what is not right with your daughter, or we can try to focus on the positives and the things that really matter. Is she getting enough sleep and exercise? Is she taking time to reflect on her actions and her schoolwork? Is she steadily improving? Can we make time to talk over things, actively listening and free from distractions like work, phones and other gadgets? He says later in the article, “Find something that your daughter really loves – it could be art or music or dance or drama or sport or academia – and become an enthusiastic cheer squad for that. While girls are doing one thing, they can’t be doing another.” (Carr-Gregg, 2017) While girls are going through adolescence they are constantly thinking ‘Am I normal? Who am I? and Where am I going?’ Getting her passionate and engaged in something is a big step towards enabling her to achieve success, find herself in relation to others and develop a sense of purpose and meaning. Our cocurricular program and the many learning and

Reference list: Carr-Gregg, M 2017, ‘Teen Queens’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 February pp 23


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When You Can Dance?

‘Why walk your way through life . . . when you can dance!?’ This motto has been adopted by a growing number of girls at Brigidine in 2017. In Dance this year, there have been more opportunities on offer than ever before. Hundreds of our girls are dancing their way through the year – before, during and after school. Curriculum Dance has now been introduced for students in Years 9 and 10, with interest and participation numbers continuing to grow. With new performance spaces on offer, more classes and a myriad of cocurricular opportunities, the sky is the limit for dance at Brigidine! As we progress through the Dance curriculum, our girls represent, question and celebrate human experience. By using the body as the instrument and movement as the medium, they learn about personal, emotional and physical communication. Like all art forms, dance has the capacity to engage, inspire and excite the imagination, encouraging students to express their creative potential. Dance enables students to develop a movement vocabulary with

which to explore and refine imaginative ways of moving individually and collaboratively. Students choreograph, rehearse and perform as they engage with dance practice and practitioners in various cultures and communities. We are very pleased with the results of our first Year 12 HSC Dance cohort of 2016. We received four nominations for the prestigious Callback, a show that celebrates exemplar HSC Dance works in the areas of performance and composition. This year we are excited to have improved the timetabling and structure of the Dance program, which allows for more face-toface time with teaching staff and a better learning experience for the girls. We also had the first ever Years 9 and 10 Dance class commence this year. The pathway through to HSC Dance has never been stronger and we are excited to watch the girls grow over the coming years. Curriculum Dance also provides performance opportunities which include the Dance Spectacular, the Years 9–11 Curriculum Dance Night, and the HSC Performance Evening. There are also

opportunities for our girls to watch professional dance shows which aim to stimulate creative expression and inspire them to follow their dreams in whatever aspect of dance they love. All of these activities enrich the girls’ school experience and help them build confidence which can be applied anywhere in life. Whether you are a performer, choreographer or simply a member of the audience, dance aims to promote social inclusion and wellbeing. We explore students’ ability to collaborate as a team and respect and encourage each other’s creative expression. When students work in groups or in pairs they learn to build trust and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Students also learn about dance from various cultures through history, which builds their appreciation and cultural awareness. We wish our current Year 12 class the best of luck in their preparations for the HSC practical examinations in August and have no doubt they will do us proud! Katrina Pattalis Dance teacher

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Study Spaces to Inspire Learning

I would like to thank all members of the College community for their ongoing cooperation throughout the current building refurbishment. Families, students and staff have cheerfully accepted the changed traffic, parking and access arrangements that have been necessary to allow the contractor to proceed with the works while maintaining the safe operation of the College. Refurbishment works such as this present their challenges, and work on a 1950s era building has uncovered a number of latent conditions requiring attention, along with their cost and program consequences. Despite these delays we look forward to the project completion which will allow


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for full occupancy by the time you are reading this. During the project we have mostly seen concrete and steel but as it nears completion we can see the quality finishes and furnishings being added to these modern learning and staff spaces. The refurbishment will see teacher staff areas with rooms for meetings with students on two levels, a new common room with catering facilities on the ground floor that will also serve College events. A lift and other features will improve disability access and construction of new verandas to the two main levels will provide access to larger classroom spaces and seminar rooms. Student movement between the Anita Murray Centre and the rest of the campus will also be improved.

We look forward to the project “completion which will allow for full occupancy by the time you are reading this.

Special thanks go to Brian Riodan, the College’s Property Manager and his team, who in addition to their normal busy schedules are capably managing the various relocations and operational needs associated with the works. We look forward to showing you the new facilities in full operational use in the next issue of The Bridge. Greg Smith Business Manager



to the UK

In the September holidays, a group of Year 11 students accompanied by two teachers, Mrs Martin and Mrs Dunsmore, embarked on our European cultural tour journeying through England and Italy. During the 17 days we discovered the beauty of England, travelling to York, the Lake District, Manchester, Stratford-onAvon, Bath, Winchester and London. We then flew to Italy and stayed in Florence and Rome.

In England we explored the historic culture of all the cities we went to, each of which had its own story and character. The beautiful embellished cathedrals, the Roman Baths, Warwick Castle and many famous writers’ houses were all interesting and very different from anything we had ever seen before. Visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace was exciting because all of us had studied at least one Shakespeare text. After exploring many rural parts of England, where the green countryside was a never-ending and glorious sight, we arrived in London, our final stop before Italy. The busy city was vibrant and buzzing and we found ourselves eagerly jumping on the London Tube, going to art galleries, famous monuments, the London Eye, the Tower of London and of course Buckingham Palace. By the time we had finished the UK part of the trip, everyone had fallen in love with England and most definitely with British accents! Our first destination in Italy was Pisa, where of course we headed straight to the Leaning Tower. It was here that everyone had their first taste of authentic Italian food. Yum! Our time in Florence was short but we made the most of it by going to the markets spending the day buying leather goods and Italian food. When we were in Rome, a visit to the Trevi Fountain at night, a day in the Vatican and exploring the Roman ruins of the Colosseum was the perfect way to conclude the tour. Apart from the rich cultural aspect of the tour there were many other amazing experiences that brought our journey to life – whether it was shopping in some of the beautiful cities, taking photos in the Tube, wandering around the cobbled streets of Italy together or eating way

too many Italian pastries or English fish and chips. As a group we developed strong friendships, and the teachers were wonderful. They were our mothers for two weeks, and by the end we were one large family who had just experienced the trip of a lifetime together. The tour was a 17‑day immersion in the cultures of England and Italy, and there is no doubt that every single person took away memories and experiences which will stay with them forever. Hannah Wong and Sonia Elliott Year 12

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Retreats Week

Resilience learned through Camps The word that sums up the Years 7–10 Camp experiences this year is definitely ‘Resilience’. The experience of going to camp is always about challenging our girls in new environments to go beyond their normal experience of day-to-day life and to build stronger connections with others, with the environment, and to find strengths within themselves they had not known or used before. When you add loads of rain, mud and discomfort into the mix of the normal Camp challenges, it creates an even greater hurdle for the staff and students to overcome. You learn quickly that: • you can stay warm if you keep moving and your raingear will keep you dry • little gestures and actions mean a great deal – food or warm drinks are an absolute joy • you cannot change the weather – all you can change is your attitude towards the situation • put one foot in front of the other when it gets tough and you feel a bit ‘low’. This too will pass • give to others and make connections with people – start a song and people will join in with you • expand your comfort zone – you will be amazed with what you can achieve.


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These simple observations are life lessons for the girls and for the staff who attended the Camps in March during what was one of the wettest weeks of the year. I hope that these experiences can provide a framework for our girls to reflect on in the future. The inevitable difficulties will arise in life. Pressures from school, relationships, work-life balance, or even a sense of personal failure about some situation. I hope they can all think back on Camp and realise that, like Camp in 2017, it is something they can get through, it will pass, and if I just focus on the present and work harder to stay connected with people I will find my strengths and overcome the challenge. Resilience is the capacity to cope with adversity, loss, change and discomfort and continue to bounce back and have a positive outlook. For this generation of students, it is essential that we continue to allow them to experience some of life’s challenges and push through adversity themselves. We will always be with them and behind them

as they learn these lessons on their own. Lessons learned in this way help to shape them as young people and move them from girl to young woman. Brian Loughland Assistant Principal Pastoral Care


Relationship building at Retreats Along with the camps, the senior Retreats program presents an effective time out for girls to consider their journey as Brigidine students through offering quality reflection and service time. With opportunities to build cohort unity via team building activities, and self-awareness through reflection and meditation, the senior groups encounter sacrament with the celebration of Mass and liturgies. Retreats provide the girls with quality reflection time and opportunities to give service to others. Year 11 attended a spirituality Street Retreat, adopting the theme, ‘My True Self: Re-discovering myself and others’, to stimulate and engage students as they prepare for their final years of secondary education.

With the purpose of assisting students in recognising the importance of their holistic development, the retreat aims to give our girls a further understanding of the ‘fullness of life’. Activities are designed to open students to their spiritual dimension as well as fostering a sense of community and a heightened awareness of the value in giving service to others. Girls were allocated placements in venues across Sydney including Catholic Health Care Services, Sir Eric Woodward School, St Lucy’s School, Sunshine Homes, Edmund Rice Centre, Sacred Heart Hospice, Youth off the Streets, St Vincent de Paul Centres, Coast Shelter and Brigidine House. Accommodation was provided at Canisius Centre Pymble, The Centre Randwick, St Joseph’s Baulkham Hills and Camp Kedron Ingleside. The Year 12 Retreat builds on the Year 11 experience by extending the girls’ reflections of themselves to relationships

provide the girls “withRetreats quality reflection time and opportunities to give service to others.

with their family, peers and God. Year 12 journeyed to Elanora Heights Retreat Centre on a spiritual retreat where the theme, ‘To Everything there is a Season’, was designed to prepare our girls for the stresses and challenges of the HSC year and beyond. With the support of a sacred place, prayer, meditation, yoga, music therapy and liturgies, the group came away from the retreat with a deeper understanding of their faith and their relationships. William Gleeson Assistant Principal Religious Formation

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to Longstanding Staff Philippa Goddard Librarian/ Archives

Graham Hughes Learning Technologies Advisor Graham began working at Brigidine in 2006. From his first day he worked with departments to offer methods of making our teaching easier. He taught us the Markbook program, helped with the reporting process, and assisted in the development of our curriculum. Graham introduced the College to platforms such as One Note and the virtual classroom. He also guided many teaching staff in becoming Microsoft Certified Educators. The list of Graham’s achievements is a very long one. We thank Graham for his expertise and wish him all the best in his retirement. Brett Harrison Head of English

Amanda Angelo TAS and Languages Amanda began teaching at Brigidine College in January 2004 and taught Technology and Food Technology in TAS, as well as being involved in the Languages Department for many years teaching Italian. Amanda was widely involved the cocurricular life of the College, having been a member of the College musical team, Dance Club Convener and a vibrant Lourdes House Patron. Amanda is extremely well organised and knows her content, especially Food Technology, inside and out. This was demonstrated by the fantastic


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Philippa began working at Brigidine in 1986 and started her working life at the College in the Library. Her dedication to Brigidine has spanned 30 years but her first association with Brigidine started much earlier when her eldest daughter,

Julie Calder IT Database Administrator Julie came to the College in 2000 as the Curriculum IT Support assisting with hardware and software support one day a week. At the time students did not have their own laptops and there was just one classroom equipped with computers, with a few in the Library and a handful in McCammon Wing for Year 12 students. Over the next few years technology at Brigidine changed immensely. Julie assisted in the integration of the Administration and Academic systems, HSC Food Technology results gained by Brigidine students in 2012 and 2014, with a first place in the State and an 8th place in the State respectively. On behalf of the College I would like to thank Amanda for her contributions. We wish her every future success. Tawney Peachy Head of TAS

Emma, started at the College in 1982. Her two other daughters, Louise and Sarah, followed. Philippa was a very active parent for many years. She worked behind the scenes to ensure that the staff morale was maintained though Social Committee events and her concern for staff wellbeing was greatly appreciated. It has been a privilege and a joy to share Philippa’s long and distinguished Brigidine journey which has extended to many lifelong friendships. We wish Philippa every blessing for the future. Colleen McKeown History/English the introduction of laptops for students and staff use, and a wireless network across the College. In 2012 Julie was appointed as Data Administrator and has since focused mainly on database administration and integration, production of reports, the Parent Teacher Interview system and data support to staff. Julie has been a great asset to the College in the progressive development of our technology systems. We appreciate her many contributions and wish her well for the future. Di Lawrence Director Development and Community Relations



to New Staff John Gregory TAS John is an experienced, enthusiastic teacher of Food Technology, Hospitality and Design and Technology. Prior to commencing at Brigidine, John taught at Ravenswood School for Girls for over ten years and MLC School, Burwood for four years. John is a graduate of the Australian Catholic University and was a recipient of the Dean’s Medal.

Tracey Byrne Teacher Librarian and Information Resources Tracey’s most recent position was Teacher-Librarian at Redlands Cremorne, where she worked for 15 years in both Middle and Senior schools. She is a Secondary English teacher and a Librarian with a love of learning. In 2015 Tracey graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). She has worked in public libraries, at the University of NSW Library, and at several other schools. Her interest in Information and Communications Technology has developed over the years, especially as Libraries are ever-changing! Tracey’s role at Brigidine will involve working in the Library with the girls as well as assisting teachers with the College’s new Learning Management system, Firefly. With all that library work you may have guessed that Tracey loves reading and being in Book Clubs, but she also enjoys being in the rockpools when the waves crash over, and seeing and hearing the wildlife in our coastal environment. At present Tracey is also learning (basic) Italian with the DuoLingo app on her phone, which she says is very engaging. Tracey is delighted to join the staff at Brigidine College and looks forward to getting to know everyone.

John entered the teaching profession following an extensive career as a qualified chef which saw him work in five star hotels. He enjoys sharing his passion for cooking and experiences in the hospitality industry. Beyond school, John enjoys spending time with his family, and has two sons who are 6 and 3 years old. John’s interests include soccer and baseball.

Jennifer Broekhuijse College Psychologist Jenn is thoroughly enthused to begin her role as College Psychologist for Terms 1 and 2. She is passionate about promoting positive mental health and supporting young women’s holistic growth. Jenn realises the trust and respect the girls and their parents place in her as College Psychologist. She values being professional yet approachable in her interactions, so as to best help the girls accomplish their goals and overcome any challenges along the way.

In her spare time and on the weekends, Jenn enjoys spending time outside, whether it be bushwalking, swimming at the beach, or just sitting outside while sipping a coffee.

Jenn completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Macquarie University. After completing this degree, she was employed as a Psychology Research Assistant and Mental Health Worker. During this time she also volunteered at Lifeline and Cumberland Psychiatric Hospital, so as to gain experience working with a variety of populations. Most recently, Jenn completed a Master of Clinical Psychology at Macquarie University. Here she gained experience in a range of settings, including at Oakhill College as a school psychologist, as well as at Concord Repatriation Hospital.

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Girl Power reached its goal! Last year the call went out to help us launch important projects including Engineering Robotics through our Annual Giving program and we did it! Thank you! People across our community pitched in. Many of our new parents could see the value of this investment and supported the Robotics project as did the ladies at the Melbourne Cup Lunch who gave

generously. We reached our target and now the kits have arrived and the girls can start work. Electronic Coding was a popular project too with supporting gifts from staff, parents and donors from the past community. Robotics and Coding are both recognised as significant study areas for future workplace skills. Yet it is a reflection of the compassion of our community that the greatest financial support last year was given to

the Scholarship and Bursary Fund with over $6600 going to help support the education of girls whose families were experiencing hardship. Alumni were particularly keen to help with this fund as well as staff and parents. As this is a constant issue in our community we need to build on it each year. So THANK YOU to everyone who gave to Annual Giving! We raised a total of $12,725. We are so grateful. Now, look at the wonderful projects you can help with this year. Let’s make these projects happen! Di Lawrence Director Development and Community Relations


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Annual Giving Realityreads So, you want to read a book that is going to capture your imagination. Your mind is swarming with ideas and tips. Where do you start? Suddenly the book shelf comes to life with a video bursting out of the cover. It’s one of your school friends telling you about the book by video! She grabs your interest with a compelling story. Now you just have to read it! Augmented Reality (AR) is a digitally enhanced view of the world. AR can transport you into a visual book review made by students’ peers. It may sound ‘unreal’ but with the help of a few iPads and some simple software we can make this a ‘reality’ in our own Library. Just imagine how much this will encourage reading and improve literacy amongst our girls. How engaged they will be: making their own video book review, sharing it with friends, getting tips on their latest good read! With support for this project we aim to buy six iPads loaded with the Aurasma App ( which students will use in the Library to trigger the video book reviews (called AURA). Any student will be able to record a review using the iPads but just imagine how Years 7 and 8 girls will particularly love this project. It could start a reading epidemic! The Aurasma App is only available on iOS devices (laptops don’t deliver this technology) so iPads are the only tool to provide this exciting opportunity. Help us bring books to life today by making a gift. With just a target of $3500 we can launch this project.

Cutting across disciplines with innovative technology Laser technology is now a ‘gateway’ tool that unleashes opportunities across disciplines in schools, particularly in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). To prepare Brigidine girls for our technological world we need to challenge them to design and innovate. Through laser technology our students can personalise, customise and add value to their own projects, raising the quality of their work and increasing their confidence in the technology arena. They can hone their problem solving, critical thinking, team building and collaboration skills, all of which are so valued in the workplace. Digital Laser technology allows students to develop concepts from prototyping to testing and production phases with complete realisation using materials ranging from acrylic and aluminium to leather, stainless steel and wood.

Support during hardship

Help us fund this Digital Laser system for use across the STEM disciplines at Brigidine bringing amazing opportunities to our girls and their futures. The goal for this project is to raise $5000.

Our Annual Giving Appeal is an annual request to support Brigidine College financially and reflects our philosophy of everyone contributing what they can for projects which cannot be covered by school fees.

Bursary support from our donors has helped us to help them, allowing girls to stay amongst friends and supportive staff through these trying times. So that financial circumstances do not prevent young women from accessing or continuing their education at Brigidine College we need help for our Bursary Fund.

fill out the Annual Giving brochure insert you will have received with this issue of The Bridge, or go to our website and click on Support then Annual Giving. You can click the Donate Now button to take you straight to Payments. Whatever your gift, it will be greatly appreciated and will make a difference to our girls.

Collectively our gifts can make these opportunities happen. To make your gift to one of these special projects simply

Di Lawrence Director Development and Community Relations

Over the past year more families in our community than ever have been affected by difficult circumstances.

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comes to Brigidine

On a Saturday evening in February with a cocktail in hand the P&F stepped back in time to the roaring 1920s and welcomed parents to 2017’s Great Gatsby themed Cocktail Party. Bowie Hall was transformed with a decadence that even Jay Gatsby would have approved of! Our guests picked up their cosmopolitans, parted the curtains, and entered the Gatsby Lounge replete with chaise-lounge, chandelier, champagne fountain and speakeasy music from the 1920s band, Greg Poppleton and the Bakerlite Broadcasters. We delighted in the food and wine, enjoyed Principal Jane Curran’s scene-setting story of the Gatsby era (especially Eckleburg’s billboard) and the

conversation, which only stopped when it was time to draw the winners of the Club Med raffle.

such a success. Without you we most definitely would not have been able to “Party like Gatsby”!

I would like to extend the P&F’s thanks to the businesses who were kind enough to donate some amazing prizes to our raffle. They included a Club Med holiday to Mauritius, overnight accommodation in the city at the Swissotel, high tea at The Westin, dinner at local restaurant Rosedale Cottage and a Uniform Shop voucher. We are extremely lucky to have the continued support of many donors throughout the year. Funds raised from the raffle will go towards new outdoor furniture for the girls following the building works and new landscaping.

Once again, this annual event lived up to its reputation of being one not to be missed! It was such a great way to start the year and we were pleased to welcome so many of you there. Look out for details of future events the P&F will be hosting this year. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Finally, I would like to thank the huge efforts of the committee and team of helpers, including the Maintenance Team and Multimedia Specialist, Gareth Edey, who gave up their time to make the event


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Pip Inman P&F President Platinum Partner:



Ladies Luncheon Around 115 Brigidine women were greeted at the beautiful Cavallino Ristorante in Terrey Hills with a glass of Prosecco and the sounds of our own String Ensemble on Melbourne Cup Day in November. The winners of the flutter of sweeps and raffles took away prizes from our wonderful sponsors, including 50 vouchers from House of K’Dor in Chatswood, each valued at $100, a superb bundle of luxury goods from Zjoosh and a gift voucher from Ribs and Burgers. It was wonderful to see so many different groups and individuals: • new parents who joined tables and made new friendships in their Year groups • mums from each Year group who combined with others, extending their network • girls from the Class of 2016 who had finished their HSC • mothers of the Class of 2015 who came back and had a ball!

Bringing mothers together Over the past four years Caroline Kimmorley has brought many mothers together socially through her work with the Luncheon and Supper groups. These groups were originally formed many years ago to help mothers meet each other but have been the start of many long-standing friendships. Each year Caroline has set up the initial meeting here at the College for both Lunch and Supper groups as an icebreaker to get these friendships started. As the mother of two Brigidine girls, Sarah and Katie, Caroline has given our mums plenty of tips to get them started at Brigidine in her ever warm and encouraging way. Our mothers always mention the fun they have at these dinners and lunches and the friends they have made through joining them. We are very grateful for Caroline’s help and organisation. As her daughter Katie is in Year 12 she is now handing over the reins to Bronwyn Covarr and

Caroline Kimmorley with husband and College Board member Brett

Frances Whitfield who have kindly offered to take on the program. We are always grateful to parents who volunteer in different ways. Thank you so much Caroline for all your help. Many people have appreciated your efforts and the friendships you have helped them make. Di Lawrence Director Development and Community Relations

• a very special group of mums who first met 40 years ago – they had a great time and they promised to come back next year! The food was superb, the atmosphere amazing, the decorations were beautiful, and the accolades just kept coming. All congratulated the committee, who worked with the Development team to make sure this was a thoroughly enjoyable affair for all. Special thanks go to Felicity Dennis for her wonderful decoration – unbelievably beautiful! Also to Karen Tonoli and Chris Clarke for their planning and ideas. The baton has been passed to Tess Wiseman and Daniella Marrocco for this year’s Cup, and we look forward to the celebrations in November in what will be this event’s third year.

Save the date! This year’s Melbourne Cup Ladies Luncheon will be held on Tuesday 7 November at Cavallino Ristorante, Terrey Hills.

Would you like to join a Lunch or Supper group? Meeting other mothers from Brigidine can be a real help in getting to know other mums and it is great fun. Brigidine has had Lunch and Supper groups for nearly 40 years... AND some groups are still meeting as the friendships are so strong and supportive! If you are interested in joining a group contact Bronwyn Covarr on or Frances Whitfield on

Di Lawrence Director Development and Community Relations

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Xanadu We Xana-did it! ‘A place where nobody dared to go... ’ Except Brigidine College St Ives. When we announced Xanadu as the College Musical for 2017, it was in many ways a surprising choice. It certainly was for the students; the cheers were tempered by politely furtive queries that came to me in corridors and classrooms the following week: ‘what exactly is Xanadu?’ I quickly found myself in a quandary. How does one describe the experience that is the 1980 film, one so derided that an acid-tongued critic quipped it was a definite ‘Xana-don’t’? I used all the keywords – ‘roller skates, Greek mythology, Los Angeles…’ – but it soon became apparent that a clear, incisive narrative was not something the film had to offer. What it did have was two pop songwriters at the soundtrack’s helm: Jeff Lynne of 1970s soft-rock band Electric Light Orchestra, and Australian-born John Farrar who wrote and produced Olivia Newton-John’s biggest hits. The songs in Xanadu traverse the same timeframe as its fragmented story, moving from the big band sound of the 1940s to the postdisco synthesisers that defined the 1980s. They are inventive and memorable, and whilst the film languished at the box office the soundtrack shot to #1 in Australia and yielded two #1 singles in the US and the UK. When watched as a long-form music video, a filmic vehicle for its musical sequences, Xanadu becomes a different project altogether. Kenny Ortega’s

we took cues from the excess of “ and bolstered the show into a proper spectacle. ”

choreography was ahead of its time, and paved the way for his future working with Madonna and Michael Jackson. As it found a new audience on home video and DVD (as well as being a recent mainstay in Australian television’s New Year’s Day programming!) the legacy of Xanadu was being rewritten – it became, firmly, a ‘cult classic’.

interpolated an expanded Grecian world, complete with conniving muse sisters and a scene in homage to another 1980s fantasy film Clash Of The Titans, giving the story a much-needed source of tension. The score also borrowed three more hit songs from the Lynne and Farrar songbooks, making for a truly giddy, nostalgic experience.

Some 27 years later, Xanadu opened on Broadway. The irony was not lost on writer Douglas Carter Beane, who announced the production with a knowing tagline: ‘Xanadu on Broadway. Seriously’. His theatrical adaptation of a ‘flop’ movie was a riotous satire and every flaw in the film became comic fodder: Olivia’s Australian accent for the role of a Greek muse in Los Angeles (!), the dreams of a young painter inexplicably peaking with opening a roller disco, and the general silliness of the narrative were all lampooned with joyful wit. He cleverly

Although originally intended for a small cast and an intimate theatre space, we took cues from the excess of the film and bolstered the show into a proper spectacle. It is no secret that Xanadu is a not-soguilty pleasure of mine. It is a camp, neon-coloured fantasy, but it is also a utopian vision of America at the dawn of a new decade. Otherworldly romance is possible, generations can collide in the interest of creativity, and strangers will lend you their bicycle so that you can chase a glowing woman on roller skates. The real ‘magic’ at its heart is the belief that the Arts are important and can become essential parts of people’s identity, something that resonates deeply with me and indeed many of our talented students. My thanks to the cast for finding the fun in this show and to the production team for their commitment to making my vision come alive. Chris Rutherford Director


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Swimming Carnival Our first Swimming Carnival at North Sydney Pool was a great success. Everyone put on a brave face as we ventured out in the rain on Wednesday 1 March but luckily spent most of the day in sunshine, appreciating a beautiful venue and enjoying the competition in the pool. Thank you to the staff and House Captains who supported and encouraged the girls throughout the day and to the girls who competed and won points for their House. Congratulations to Fatima, the 2017 House Swimming Carnival Champions and to our new School Swimming Champion, Magali Ogg (Year 8), who achieved 66 points on the day. Four records were broken on the day: Mia Rolfe: 200 IM Intermediate (new event) – 2:39.89

Magali Ogg: 200 IM Junior (new event) – 2:52.75 Mia Rolfe: 50 Free Open Invitational – 28.36 (beating 28.62) Prague: Intermediate Relay – 2:05.29 (beating Fatima’s time of 2:06.18)

House Point Score PLACE















Belinda Moore Director Sport

Age Champions YEAR





Juliet Liddy

Emma Gavazzi

Jessica Penollar

12 Years

Sarah Cassidy

Zoe Ellis

Alexandra Rollinson

13 Years

Magali Ogg

Georgia Bonadio

Ashleigh Kuznetsoff

14 Years

Sieun Song

Jodie Louw

Roxy Beuzeville

15 Years

Madison Louw

Anika Townley

Ashley Smith

16 Years

Mia Rolfe

Annabelle Oh

Annabelle Judd

17+ Years

Isabelle Ronksley

Caitlin Wilcox

Isabella Geftakis

Open Invitation 50m Freestyle

Mia Rolfe

School Champion

Magali Ogg

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Highlights Success for Brigidine Swimmers This term has been a busy yet enjoyable term for all Brigidine swimmers. Those girls who achieved outstanding results at the school Swimming Carnival progressed to BBSSSA where they showed exceptional school spirit and achieved great results, with Brigidine placing 3rd overall against strong opposition by Sydney and Central Coast schools. The intermediate swim team (15–16 year olds) performed particularly well, finishing 1st in their age group. Congratulations to Lisa Weingartner of Year 7 who broke the multiclass record in 50m Breaststroke, and Mia Rolf of Year 11 who broke two records in the 16 years 100m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke. The backstroke record had been held since 1996. This was a wonderful result for Mia. Well done to all the Brigidine swimmers who qualified for NSWCCC (NSW Combined Catholic Colleges), held in March at Homebush. Congratulations to the following girls who will now compete at the NSW All Schools event in May after placing 3rd in the Medley and Freestyle 4 x 50m relay: Anika Townley,

Rain doesn’t dampen spirits for Brigidine Softballers This season there were nine Brigidine softball teams with more than 100 girls playing softball.

Madison Louw, Annabelle Oh, Annabelle Judd and Mia Rolfe. Special mention must go to Mia Rolfe who won all of her individual events: 50m Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly, 100m Backstroke and 200m Freestyle! Congratulations also to Juliet Liddy who won Silver in her multiclass 50m Breaststroke. Saturday afternoon squads coached by Rafael and Rachel helped our swimmers The extreme weather conditions unfortunately meant that a lot of games had to be cancelled, with one round being too hot to play and many weeks with grounds washed out. This also meant that the majority of trainings were held indoors, in the Gym. Regardless of this, our players and coaches continued to train enthusiastically.

to improve their times and technique each week with some tough sets as well as some fun games and activities. Each girl enjoyed the atmosphere of fun and hard work throughout the term. Thank you to our coaches as well as Mr Chant and the rest of the Sports Department for their continued hard work to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Francesca Copas Captain, Swimming It was great to see so many Year 7 girls playing and we hope to see them continue next year, and that Brigidine softball continues to grow. The girls’ skills continue to improve with each game which is a definite reflection of their dedication. Unfortunately, IGSSA decided that it was not possible to play the finals based on the results from the limited matches, however our teams had some encouraging results across the games that were played. Congratulations to all players for working so hard, turning up to training, working well as a team, and making it a fun and enjoyable season. Katie Kimmorley and Claire Zillman Captains, Softball


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Brigidine Tennis wraps up for the season This season Brigidine entered 15 teams in the IGSSA competition, and the girls have been kept busy with the new training sessions. Training now goes for an hour and a half and includes activities such as boxing and fast footwork, which definitely helped us to improve our technique and positioning on the court. Sadly the season was significantly interrupted by weather, with games being cancelled due of severe heat waves one week, to storms the next. This meant that finals were not played and cancelled games were replayed to maximise the amount of playing time for each team. In the games that we did play, our new intensive training sessions and skills paid off with the majority of teams winning their games. All girls are to be commended for their level of commitment and dedication to all training sessions and matches throughout the term.

Singles players and doubles teams competed in a knock-out competition over two days, with the rest of the girls covered in maroon and blue forming a great cheer squad to support our players and provide ongoing encouragement throughout the day. After some impressive performances and close matches, our Brigidine team managed to reach Round 2 in Singles and Round 4 in Doubles, which is a great accomplishment. We all felt a great sense of achievement and pride. Thank you to Mrs Moore and Mrs Irvine for your time, effort and dedication in organising and overseeing everything to do for Brigidine tennis. We wish all the girls the best of luck for Term 4 tennis and for next year! Melinda Thomas and Lauren Djani Captains, Tennis

All girls are to be commended for their level of commitment and dedication to all training sessions and matches throughout the term.

The highlight of the year for Brigidine tennis is the Tildesley Shield. In March, 26 hopeful tennis players and reserves, wearing our new Tildesley jerseys, boarded the 6.20am bus to Pennant Hills Park to compete in the 2017 Tildesley Shield against 24 other independent girls’ schools. Over the last two terms, the Tildesley Tennis team have trained hard and were now ready to play and compete to the best of their ability.

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Excellence Lions Youth of the Year Each year Brigidine College takes part in the Frenchs Forest and St Ives Lions Clubs’ Youth of the Year Program. This program is designed to encourage, foster and develop leadership in conjunction with other citizenship qualities in young people, at the age when they are about to enter the fields of employment or higher education. The qualities sought after, apart from academic attainments, are those of leadership, personality, sportsmanship, public speaking and good citizenship. Students complete a comprehensive entry form with their relevant details before being interviewed by a panel prior to the presentation evening where they give a five minute speech on a topic of their choice. The students also answer two

CSDA Public Speaking The first round of the Catholic Schools’ Debating Association (CSDA) Public Speaking competition took place at Marist Sisters College, Woolwich, on Friday 3 March. Brigidine College St Ives entered seven students into the competition, with our team consisting of Jennifer Loke (Year 8), Teya Murray (Year 9), Chloe Christie (Year 9), Meaghan Collins (Year 10), Nina Loone (Year 10), Matilda Christie (Year 11) and Raihana Mangal (Year 12). Each girl put a great deal of effort into preparing their speeches and we are very proud of them. Well done

impromptu questions that are generally on current news issues. The entrants speak for two minutes on each question. In February our College Captain Valentina Buay competed in the St Ives competition, and our College Senior Vice Captain Sophie Wright took part in the Frenchs Forest competition. Both girls competed against students Sophie Wright and Valentina Buay from local public and independent high schools those in attendance were particularly and the competition was of a very high impressed with the manner in which they standard. The girls were wonderful answered the impromptu questions. representatives of Brigidine College and Well done to Valentina and Sophie. to Raihana, who has competed in this competition every year since Year 7. Four students were chosen to progress to Round 2 of the competition that was held at Mater Maria Catholic College on 10 March. The successful students were Teya Murray (Year 9), Chloe Christie (Year 9), Meaghan Collins (Year 10) and Nina Loone (Year 10). Congratulations to Meaghan Collins (Year 10) who reached the Final of the CSDA Public Speaking competition which was held at Marist North Shore. Meaghan presented a speech on the topic ‘Mud, mud, glorious mud’ discussing the ‘mud-slinging’ that goes on in politics.

Rostrum Public Speaking Three Year 8 students represented Brigidine at the Rostrum Voice of Youth competition that was held at Santa Sabina College, Strathfield in March.

Stella Hall, Flora Tucker and Tara Thai


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All three girls gave interesting and motivating speeches, and were great representatives of the College. Congratulations to Flora Tucker, Stella Hall and Tara Thai (pictured). We were delighted when Flora and Tara each won their heats which means they will compete in the Zone Final in Term 2.

Rotary Youth Speaks Brigidine took part in the Frenchs Forest Rotary Club’s Youth Speaks competition in April. Our Year 11 students worked as a team with a Chairperson, Speaker and Proposer of the Vote of Thanks. The team was made up of Jacinta McGrath (Chairperson), Zoe Re (Speaker) and Ciara Flynn (Proposer of the Vote of Thanks). The topic of Zoe’s speech was ‘Times they are a changing!’ Zoe gave an interesting and humorous speech which touched on the history of dating, among other things! The girls spoke well and enjoyed their involvement with the Rotarians. Their strong and gentle side was shone through on the night. We are delighted to report that Brigidine came away as the champions! Jan Whiddon Coordinator, Centre for Excellence Jacinta McGrath, Ciara Flynn and Zoe Re




Alumni Day 2016 The Classes of 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006 and 2011 braved the cold, showery and windy weather to attend our 2016 Alumni Day. The conditions outside were far from favourable but in true Brigidine style we all adapted and simply moved the celebration indoors, making use of the great facilities in the Anita Murray Centre. Alumni travelled from Cairns, Maroochydore, northern and southern NSW, Orange, Dubbo, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast to be with us on the day. Special thanks to our international

Alumni members who came from Greece and Japan to reunite with their former classmates. We also welcomed members of our past and present staff who were reunited with their former colleagues and former students. Our Alumni Patron, Sr Anita Murray, also joined us and shared some wonderful memories. Our Alumni enjoyed afternoon tea while listening to the wonderful music performed by the Junior Stage Band, with the chance to wander around the College grounds and into various classrooms to reminisce and see how much has changed since their time here. Everyone had a great afternoon and we look forward to welcoming the Classes of 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007 and 2012 to their Reunion Day this October.

Alumni Day 2017 will be held on Saturday 21 October. See the back cover of this magazine for details.

Archives website Launch We are thrilled to announce our Alumni Connect website now has an archive timeline which allows you to flip through all the College Yearbooks and growing display of photos dating back from the very beginning. Simply sign in to Alumni Connect at and click Archive, then have fun scrolling through the timeline. Enjoy reliving your College days!

1987 Yearbook front cover

Class of 2014 muck up photo

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Class of 2000 members relive their Year 11 Play Alumni members of the Class of 2000, Renee Robinson, Emma Kindred (nee Colton), Phoebe Collier and Andree Baxter, attended the Bell Shakespeare production of Richard 3 at the Sydney Opera House recently. Shakespeare’s historical play depicting the bloody rise to power of King Richard III of England still has resonance more than 400 years later. The girls relived their own Year 11 performance of the play which was held in the “open air” outside the McCammon Building in 1999 and featured live horses thundering through the current AMC courtyard.

Celebrating 60 Years since Graduation 2017 marks a milestone in the College’s history as it is the first time we have celebrated 60 years since graduation for our first group of Alumni, the Class of 1957. To help celebrate this occasion our Pioneers Group, which is the name given to those students who attended Brigidine from its very beginnings in 1954 and includes all students who graduated throughout the 1950s and 1960s, joined our current students for a special Pioneers Day Assembly. We were honoured to share the celebration with our first ever College Captain, Barbara Brannan Class of 1957. We were also joined by Sr Maureen Keady who taught the first ‘composite’

Daughters of Alumni Introducing our new Year 7 2017 Daughters of Alumni and their proud mums. We hope you all enjoy the next six years at the College and create many happy memories to share. Front row (L to R): Alyssa Wong, Sophie Massey, Alani Barros, Samara Russell, Kira Beuzeville 2nd row: Sylvia Wong (Class of 1994), Monique Darcy (Class of 1986), Monique Barros (Class of 1990), Erica Russell (Class of 1992), Kammi Beuzeville (Class of 1992) 3rd row: Jaime Yeates, Calin Hall, Antonia Tomkins, Madison Williams Back row: Belinda Yeates (Class of 1997), Therese Hall (Class of 1993), Monique Reynolds (Class of 1987), Sharon Williams (Class of 1988).


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Corpus Christi primary class in the College’s Chemistry rooms in the late 50s, and Sr Clare Keady who was among the first group of Novice Nuns to live at Brigidine in 1959.

Did you know? If you are an Alumni of Brigidine College St Ives and would like to send you daughter here, your registration fee is waived. Contact our Enrolments Manager to find out more at



Weddings guard at the Mall and you could say the sweetness of the candy brought them together! Sam is now a Corporate Event Manager, and Dylan is a member of the NSW Police Force.

Samantha Best (nee Gilroy) Class of 2006

Samantha was Music Vice Captain, a highlight of her College life, so music was an important part of the Nuptial Mass. She was attended by her sister Lindsay Pennings (nee Gilroy, Class of 2000) and three friends as her bridesmaids. Her gorgeous niece Eliza was the Flower Baby. Well-known Brigidine identity, Mrs Patty Bowie attended the wedding ceremony.

Samantha married Dylan Best on Saturday 22 October 2016 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, North Sydney. Sam met Dylan in 2009 while working part-time in a confectionary shop at Warringah Mall while studying for her university degree. Dylan was a security

A Reception was later held at L’Aqua, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour. The wedding dance by the bride and groom was very special, as they danced a beautiful choreographed fox trot to the track ‘Love is All Around’ (a favourite song by the couple from the movie


We became engaged in Budapest in 2015 and I married Chris at the Q Station in Manly on Friday 16 December 2016. We have been together for eight years, after meeting at a Full Moon Party in Thailand. We were both staying in the same hotel – I was with my sister, Rachael Thomson and friend, Lauren Saxby (both Class of 2005), and Chris was with a group of his school friends from Knox Grammar.

It was the most amazing experience and we loved every moment of our time living in the UK. We made the decision to return to Sydney in October 2016 and are now

The surprises continued as the guests were also treated to a spectacular fireworks display over Darling Harbour. Alumni Class of 2006 who attended the celebrations included Samantha McCormack (who travelled from Geneva, Switzerland), Jennifer Beard (nee Edgar), Alison Francis, Kate Miller and Kayla Bulla. After a honeymoon travelling to New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii, Samantha and Dylan have settled into their own apartment in Manly Vale and have many aspirations for the future. bringing together so many special people in our lives including my gorgeous Brigidine friends, Helen Davidson Class of 2002, Laura Dunn, Danielle Mobbs (nee Fisher), Michelle Edgar, Angelique Temple (nee Delaney), Annaleis Martin (all Class of 2003) and Lauren Saxby Class of 2005. Our wedding was very much a family affair with my Mum looking after the flowers, my auntie making my cake and my other auntie was our wedding celebrant.

Ashleigh Wheeler (nee Thomson) Class of 2003

We have spent the past five years living in Notting Hill in London, working and travelling.

Love Actually) but to the amazement of guests, Sam and Dylan continued to wow them with a choreographed upbeat compilation of Backstreet Boys and shuffle dancing! It had the whole crowd cheering and definitely brought the dancefloor to life for the rest of the evening.

living in Wollstonecraft, enjoying being home with our family, friends and the warm weather! Our wedding was so special as our nearest and dearest were there to share it with us. We were touched that so many of our London friends were able to attend,

My bridesmaids included my sisters, Rachael Thomson Class of 2005 and Jorja Thomson Class of 2010, along with Alex Gillespie (nee Errington) and Kirsty KennellWebb (nee Malcolm), both Class of 2003. We honeymooned in Port Douglas after the wedding but plan to add a European leg in August – we can’t wait to get back there!


Evie Rose Last

Mila Gwenyth Whittaker

Daughter of Jackie Last (nee May) Class of 2003. Evie was born 17 March 2017, weighing 2.9kgs.

Daughter of Merette Whittaker (nee Gearin) Class of 2002 and current Fitness Instructor at Brigidine College for students and staff. Mila was born 19 February 2017 at 7.22am, weighing 3.5kg. Mum and Dad could not feel more blessed and in love with her.

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Now? composed entirely of emails written to her friends and family throughout the course of her travels during 2013–2016. The passionate emails trace her journey from being an expat, living and travelling around Europe, to an impassioned project coordinator working with disadvantaged children and vulnerable groups in Kenya.

Sophia Goodwin Class of 2008 We featured a story on Sophia, an occupational therapist who has a passion for working with and supporting children who are living in poverty, in the May 2015 edition of The Bridge, but since then Sophia has written a book called Lots of love, Soph xx, which is

Sophie Clark Class of 2015 I graduated from the College only 18 months ago, but it seems longer. Having had some influential role models at Brigidine, I chose to pursue a career within the Australian Defence Force (ADF). In Year 11 I was given the opportunity to go on voluntary work experience with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at Williamtown and this affirmed my decision to join the ADF. After successfully completing my application, I was appointed to the RAAF on 27 January 2016 and travelled down to the Australia Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra with a bunch of people who would become some of my closest friends. After completing the basic training period, we participated in my first full military parade to welcome us into ADFA before beginning my university studies. I am currently halfway through an undergraduate Business degree and am concurrently completing my military training. So far, the opportunities presented to me have been incredible, including trips to RAAF Williamtown, RAAF Richmond, a flight in a C-130J Hercules as well as a trip to Europe and walking the Camino de Santiago. Although it is challenging,


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In 2014, Sophia co-founded the Kumbuka Project. Its mission is to support the Body of Christ Children’s Centre, a non-profit charitable organisation that provides support for orphans and vulnerable children, people living with AIDS, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups within the community. It has been operating for over 10 years and is legally registered with the government of Kenya. The Body of Christ Children’s Centre began as a free nursery school in 2007 and currently provides free education for over 80 children as well as their daily meals. I am thoroughly enjoying my time at ADFA. After completing my time here, I will move into the field of logistics and the organisational skills I learnt at school through completing my Duke of Edinburgh Award will come back into practice. The personal growth and development I have experienced in such a short time period has really surprised me and the connections and friendships I have made are numerous. My parents say I speak another language now! I am really looking forward to finishing my studies and training and graduating from ADFA so that I can serve in the wider Australian Defence Force.

Here is Sophia’s update:

My whole experience while I was away was about taking chances, living in the moment and grabbing opportunities as they came along...and everyone thought what a great idea it would be to turn my emails into a book which I could sell and raise money for the orphanage. I was extremely lucky to meet the incredible Le Ho, one of the most successful young female entrepreneurs in Australia, and three months later, with a lot of hard work, the book has been published entirely through the generosity of Le Ho, Aspiring Promotions and K Group. This means for every book sold, the whole amount goes directly to the orphanage in Kenya. Unlike a lot of charity organisations no one takes a cut, so $30 per book is $30 to Kenya. I’m still riding the whirlwind that has led to this book and am loving every minute of it. I can’t thank everyone enough who helped me turn this farfetched idea into a reality, and for the great impact it will have on the beautiful children living at Body of Christ Orphanage in Kenya.

Lots of love, Soph xx can be purchased directly from Sophia by contacting You can also download Lots of love, Soph xx on Amazon. Check out for more information about the orphanage and the charity Sophia has set up.


country I will never forget – it is such a magical place.

Lisa Keighery Class of 2006 After graduating from Brigidine, I studied Interior Design at UTS for want of something both creative and practical. I completed the 4-year course with honours in 2012 and then decided I wanted to apply the skills I had learnt to art rather than design. It was during a final studio visit to India that I was able to create my first project as an artist and a relationship with a

Julie Sprakel Class of 1992 I was personally affected by breast cancer whilst living and working in London. Some years later, I moved to the Middle East for work, and used my 30th birthday to ask friends to donate money rather than gifting me presents. Raising a healthy sum, I planned to donate this to a local breast cancer charity or hospital, but nobody answered my calls or directed me. This got me thinking, “If I couldn’t access information, how did others, both nationals and expatriates?” I made the decision then to become that change agent. With the support of friends and a local businessman, we held a one-off event for 100 guests in 2004, and I was able to direct over $37,000 towards a government national mammography screening program that would be free of charge to the public. At the time I was also working full-time as a nurse in ICU, and my healthcare and nursing background has been fundamental. My Charity, Think Pink Bahrain, is more than just an organisation about raising money, but instead aims to direct funds accordingly into healthcare gaps – areas that you

For the next two years in Sydney, I continued working on my art practice while holding down several casual jobs, until I realised I needed a change. I applied for a scholarship through the Korean government to study Interior Design in Korea but was hopeful of changing my area of study further down the track. A prerequisite year of Korean language study in Gwangju was key, and a good way of learning about the culture I was adopted from but knew little of. I moved to Gwangju in 2014, completed the language course but unfortunately didn’t pass the all-important exam. However, during this year I was lucky to make good friends, travel to Japan and enjoy many trips around Korea. In 2015, I quit the scholarship program (due to extra Korean study required), took out a visa, moved to Seoul, started working and began my art practice again. Living in contemporary Korean society was can see will make a positive impact and inspire change. We are now the only registered, breast cancer specific charity in the Kingdom of Bahrain, governed by both the Ministry of Social Development & Labour and the Ministry of Health. The Charity has been a leader in many different areas in terms of education and awareness. To date, we have raised over AUS $3.5 million, with the biggest milestone being the donation of a digital MRI (breast specific) to the local government hospital. Both nationals and expatriates will use this free of charge, as a diagnostic tool and not screening. There is only one other such machine in the GCC, and Bahrain will have the second most up to date machinery, thanks to the backing of the local community and the Charity’s drive.

interesting, I was uncomfortable enough to be moved, and engaged not only as a foreigner trying to make sense, but furthermore as an adoptee questioning issues of identity. I created a modest but consistent body of conceptual works, consisting of performance, text and photography. At the end of 2015 I was selected for an artist residency for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea which I completed in December 2016. This work was exhibited as part of the show No Man’s Land with six other international artists. My parents flying over for my performance on the opening night was definitely a highlight for me. Currently, I am back in India, where I have just completed another residency in Varanasi. Later in the year I plan to continue developing my work when I move to Melbourne, and I hope to do more international residencies over the next couple of years while I’m based there. As Brigidine Alumni, I truly believe that I was given the best start, outside of my family values, to be a leader. Brigidine College enabled me to have a sense of community. What I once viewed as strict rules and regulations has only better supported me in jobs, training and collaborations, and made me adaptable to many different situations and environments – from nursing Royal Family members to digging wells in villages while travelling and working across the globe. I believe the faith, strength and belief in myself was due to my Brigidine College education.

The momentum is growing and I look forward to seeing where the future takes me. I gained my RCSI Fellowship in 2015 and now begin the first year of my PhD. My topic is ‘Breast Cancer Guideline Development – best evidence based practice’, which I believe will only further support and strengthen the direction of the Charity.

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bridg 2017 Term Dates

2018 Term Dates

Term 1

Term 1

Australia Day Public Holiday:

Thursday 26 January

Year 7 and New Student Orientation Day:

Year 7 and New Student Orientation Day:

Monday 30 January



Tuesday 31 January



Friday 7 April

Term 2 ANZAC Day Public Holiday: TERM 2 COMMENCES: Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday:

Tuesday 25 April Wednesday 26 April Monday 12 June Friday 23 June

Term 3 TERM 3 ENDS:

Wednesday 31 January Friday 30 March – Monday 2 April


Friday 13 April

Term 2



Tuesday 30 January

TERM 2 COMMENCES: Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday:

Friday 22 September

Term 4 Monday 9 October


Friday 1 December

Friday 29 June

Term 3 TERM 3 ENDS:

Tuesday 24 July Friday 28 September



Monday 11 June


TERM 3 COMMENCES: Tuesday 18 July

Tuesday 1 May


Tuesday 16 October Tuesday 4 December

2017 Reunion Dates Class of 2007

Class of 1997

Class of 1987

Class of 1977

10 Year Reunion

20 Year Reunion

30 Year Reunion

40 Year Reunion

Saturday 21 October

Saturday 21 October

Saturday 21 October

Saturday 21 October

Contact: Wendy Baxter

Contact: Wendy Baxter

Contact: Wendy Baxter

Contact: Wendy Baxter

The Bridge, Issue 1, 2017  
The Bridge, Issue 1, 2017  

The biannual magazine of Brigidine College St Ives