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Newsletter 8 2011 ~ 2 June

Dear parents, The college community was delighted to welcome the Congregational Leader of the Good Samaritan Sisters, Sr. Clare Condon, to the college on Friday 27 May. Sr Clare, who is a former student of St Mary’s attended our assembly to thank the girls for their very generous support of Sr Rita Hayes’ work in East Timor. The college has focused much of its fund raising effort over the past few years on building a well to provide clean, freely available water, to the people of Railaco in East Timor. Sr Clare spoke to the girls about the work that it is happening in Timor and how their contributions are making a great difference to Sr Rita’s work. Using photos and stories of the work being done in Railaco, Sr Clare captivated the girls, providing them with a sense of life in East Timor and the many hardships people face in satisfying the most basic of needs. We heard of children walking two hours each way to school over rugged mountains and doing so, very happily as they greatly value the educational opportunities on offer. We also gained a sense of how fortunate we are in Australia where education, clean water, electricity and access to high quality medical care are freely available. For me, Sr Clare’s visit highlighted the good that we can do by making even a small contribution to the work being done in places such as East Timor. However, even more than this, it showed how lucky we are to be living in a country where health services, education and support for those suffering hardship are freely available. While we can often see the difficulties of life in today’s consumer society, in many ways we are blessed and we should take time to appreciate our blessings.

Wot Opera St Mary’s College has been fortunate to have been chosen to work with Wot Opera, an education project set up by Opera Australia to introduce school students to opera. The girls are working with professionals from Opera Australia to create their own opera from scratch. The project involves the girls

has also given us an opportunity to reflect on where we have come from, what our current needs are and where we as a community believe we must focus our energies in coming years.

developing their own characters for the opera, plot creation, writing the libretto (script), composing the music and casting right through to directing, designing set and costumes and performing the work.

I thank the College Board, our Strategic Planning Committee comprising of parents, students, staff and Board members, and our entire college community for the work that they have done and the time they have invested in creating a vision for our future. I will report in more detail on the progress of the plan as it nears completion.

The girls chosen for this project will be working with Opera Australia for five days over five weeks, culminating in the performance of their opera at the college and at the IPAC on 22 June. Further updates of this great initiative will be included in upcoming newsletters and on the college website.

Registration and Accreditation Visit St Mary’s was visited by representatives from the Board of Studies on Tuesday 31 May for our five yearly Registration and Accreditation visit. Board inspectors viewed all of our documentation from teaching programs through to assessment manuals, student work samples and teacher evaluations. The inspectors also visited our facilities and ensured that we were compliant in all areas necessary for registration as a secondary school in NSW. The visit was both pleasant and helpful as the inspectors commented on the quality of work that was happening at the college and admired our facilities. I am delighted Mrs to report that we are compliant in all areas and we have been registered for the next five years.

I thank you for your ongoing support of the college and its staff and I wish you a peace filled and happy weekend as we begin to embrace the cooler weather. Yours sincerely, Frank Pitt, Principal

Brenda Wilson, Chair of St Mary’s Board, with her daughter at the Mother’s Day dinner

Strategic Plan The new college strategic plan is close to completion and we are discussing both the launch date of the plan and a commencement date to begin the implementation program. This plan has been a real community project, with student focus groups, surveys of students, parents and staff and great support on a variety of levels from the College Board. I believe the plan will provide vision and direction for the college into the future; however, it

Rachel Bate, Frank Pitt and Melissa Sullivan at the Mother’s Day dinner at Villa D’Oro


From the Dean of Pastoral Care…

Mother’s Day Dinner


The annual Mother’s Day Dinner was held at Villa D’Oro this year and was a great success. Gifts of all sorts were donated by many generous sponsors for our silent auction and raffles.

Thank you for your patience with the delay of our winter uniforms. I realise that this has not been an optimum situation, but unfortunately the delay has been out of the control of the college and uniform shop. I understand that the majority of girls now have their winter uniform and should have made the transition. The uniform shop is keeping me updated with the arrival of the final pieces. With the onset of the colder weather I encourage you to ensure that your daughter is wearing the blazer to and from school. The college scarf and jumper should be worn if required. Please be aware that non-regulation scarves are not permitted and students will be asked to remove them. A reminder also that uniform length is mid-calf. It is expected that short hems are adjusted in a prompt manner and any delay is notified to the Year Coordinator by a note.

Communication Parents are reminded that the Student Diary is the primary tool of communication. These should be signed weekly and monitored for your daughter’s progress. The diary is a valuable indicator to you as parents and I encourage you to take time to review it and discuss the week’s events with your daughter. Notes relating to absence or lateness should be provided on the first day of return, or on your daughter’s arrival to the college should she be late. In relation to Friday Sport, participation is compulsory. It is disappointing to see when parents have arranged other commitments during this time. Although it may seem practical this is not an appropriate time for medical appointments or other events which impact on attendance.

The food was delicious, the company scintillating and the entertainment provided by our special guests Rachel Bate and Melissa Sullivan was a real treat. Rachel sang a number of songs accompanied by Melissa, both of whom are ex-students of the College and extremely talented in their fields. We look forward to next year’s celebration and hope to see you there! Marie Pulford

Quota Student of the Year Rosie Gardiner and Tayla Howard of Year 11 recently competed against students from other Illawarra schools. The girls were first interviewed by a panel of judges on their knowledge of current affairs, citizenship and community involvement and leadership potential. This was followed by a speech night where they presented a prepared four minute speech on a topic of their choice and delivered a one minute impromptu speech. The standard of competition was very high. Rosie spoke about “what makes young people tick” and Tayla spoke about “her hero, her younger sister”. Both speeches were clearly delivered, well organised and meaningful. Although neither of the girls were placed, both gained valuable experience and enjoyed this opportunity. Congratulations to Rosie and Tayla for being excellent ambassadors for our college. Thank you to Annalise Farrugia, from Year 12 and the 2010 winner of this competition, for mentoring both girls, Mrs Morris and Mrs Pulford for helping the girls with their speeches and Mr Selby for his support. Liz Davis

Our college mums having a wonderful time at the Mother’s Day dinner

Lee Bate and her Mum Elaine

Debutantes wanted St Mary’s Gerringong 129th Annual Ball – Saturday 13 August – Gerringong Town Hall. Girls over 16 years of age from the Municipality of Kiama, who would like to take part in this year’s Debutante Ball are asked to contact Diane Allison at or phone after 6pm on 42342 664 for further information. Expressions of Interest required by Friday 10 June. Dance practice to begin late June.

From the P&F…

Punctuality Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that a number of girls are arriving late to school on a regular basis without a valid reason. School begins at 8.45am and it is expected that students are ready for Tutor Group at this time. Please be aware that if your daughter is regularly late for no reason she will face appropriate consequences to make up for the time missed. Emma Magill Mrs Liz Davis and Mr Scott Selby with Rosie Gardiner and Tayla Howard

Formal Fashion Parade and Expo 8 June The P&F committee is pleased to announce that tickets have gone on sale for the Holy Spirit and St Mary’s second formal fashion parade and Expo to be held at Holy Spirit College, Bellambi. Doors open at 6.30pm - tickets are $5 each and are available from the Student Office and Senior students. For more information, see advertisement that accompanies this newsletter. (See college website for P&F minutes) Helen Bow (President P&F Association)

From the Dean of Studies…

Year 12 Biology Excursion

Students in all year groups have recently been involved in assessment tasks. Year 7 students are partaking in a continuous model of assessment in their subjects, Years 8 to 10 students have just completed their half yearly examinations and Year 11 and 12 students have completed their scheduled tasks. As students receive their results, I encourage them to reflect on their experiences: What did I do well? What did I find hard? What am I going to do about it? What will I do differently next time?

Starting the day at 7am can be a challenge. However, Year 12 Biology girls were already preparing themselves for sights that had to be seen at the University of NSW Museum of Human Disease.

Students need to use the feedback from the task and their teachers to help narrow the gap between what they understand and what they need to understand. I encourage students to speak with their teachers about their learning. Feedback is not just information from teacher to student; it is most effective when it is also from student to teacher. Professor John Hattie is a leading researcher on what makes a difference to student’s learning and promotes feedback as a positive influence. He also claims that feedback has its greatest effect when a learner expects a response to be correct, and is not. As students receive their results, there will be some who will be happy and others who will be disappointed. I encourage students who are disappointed with their results to turn that disappointment into a positive determination and seek assistance on improving their understanding of the concepts. This will enable them to develop new learning strategies and make better connections with their learning.

Diseased specimens such as clogged arteries, layers of skin damaged by melanoma and dissected lungs with emphysema were a confronting yet riveting experience. We certainly have improved our understanding of the theory covered in class. A big thank you to Ms Harris for organising the day, and to Mr Quinn and Ms Redmond for taking us. P.S. Eat well, stay out of the sun and don’t smoke – we’ve seen the consequences! Lauren Hanson & Jessica Costanzo

Year 12 Biology excursion to the University of NSW Museum of Human Disease

Zonta Club – biggest morning tea On 26 May, the Zonta Club along with some extra helpers, took part in a nationwide event, and held the biggest morning tea at the college. The Zonta executive paraded top hats, while selling scrumptious cakes and heart-warming hot drinks at recess and lunch. Overall the day was a great success and an astounding $1300 was raised. These funds will be donated to the Cancer Council to help fund research, prevention, education and support services across the country. A big thank you to students who baked cakes on behalf of their tutor group – they all looked amazing and tasted even better. The Zonta Executive would especially like to thank Ms Fitzgerald, Andrea Theodore, the Zonta Club president, and all students and staff who purchased cakes and drinks. Congratulations to Mikayla Lilli and Kelsey Hawkesby who won the best decorated cake competition. For any students who would like to become part of Zonta, meetings are held every Day 9 at lunch in F205. Hopefully our next fundraiser at the end of term will be just as successful. Zonta executive

Year 8 families are reminded that the Year 9 2012 subject information evening will be held on Tuesday, 7 June at 7pm in the SGN hall. Gerry Sozio

MUNA On 14 May Meg Connell, Emma Harrington and Zoe Vesey had the pleasure of attending the Rotary Club sponsored Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) at the Nan Tien Temple. It was an all day event with students from 20 other schools from the Illawarra and Sydney representing various countries and debating on five different world issues. It was an enjoyable and enriching experience and, although we didn’t win, we learned a great deal about other cultures and an insight into a United Nations Assembly. Zoe Vesey, Emma Harrington and Meg Connell

Emma Harrington, Meg Connell and Zoe Vesey at the Model United Nations Assemmbly

Top hats and delicious cakes were the order of the day at our Zonta Club’s biggest morning tea

7 June 8 June 23 June 24 June 27 & 28 June

Yr 9 2012 subject selections evening 7pm P&F Fashion Parade at Holy Spirit (from 6.30pm) Yr 7 immunisations Term 2 concludes Yrs 7-11 parent/teacher interviews

For student enquiries and notifications, please ring Student Office direct: 4226 3959

Stage 5 Visual Arts

Kulilla Corner

Excursion to Arthur Boyd’s Bundanoon

CHILLED Anxiety Program @ Headspace

We recently had the good fortune to visit Arthur Boyd’s estate and participate in some wonderful workshops.

This program is a scientifically tested course that teaches teens and their parents how to better manage and overcome anxiety.

The education officers, Mary, Jim, Saskia and Randall welcomed us with warm smiles and cups of hot chocolate! It was a beautiful clear day and we drew en plein air. Views included the iconic pulpit rock that Boyd repeatedly painted in his own works. We had a guided tour of Boyd’s home and studio and we viewed many original artworks. We all enjoyed this day. It was a privilege to be immersed in Arthur Boyd’s world – his creative spirit was palpable! Margaret McMahon, Kerri Harrigan and Franca Barila

The program is run by two youth psychologists and each participant and their parent/carer receives their own workbook and CD ROM. Research has shown that 80% of those who attend this program show significant improvement. Topics include: What is anxiety? Me and my anxiety; learning about feelings; feeling better by thinking better, how unhelpful thoughts make us anxious; slowly fighting the fear by facing the fear. Cost: free with a GP referral; for young people between the ages of 12-15 (parents are also encouraged to attend parts of the program). To register please call 4220 7660.

New translation of the missal Stage 5 Visual Arts students

Information sessions Cathedral Meeting Room: on Wednesdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 10.30am to noon and Thursdays, June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 7.30pm to 9pm, there will be sessions to explore the Mass in the context of the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal. The DVD “Become One Body One Spirit in Christ” will be explored. There will be opportunity for discussion and questions.

Congratulations... to Eda Yakan on her representation in the Wollongong Diocesan Open Girls Football team. Wollongong won a silver medal at the NSW CCC Carnival. Belinda Sparks Visual Arts students viewing artworks at Arthur Boyd’s Estate

Locked Bag 42 - Wollongong NSW 2500 - Phone 02 4228 6011 - Fax 02 4229 8555 -