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Newsletter 2 2011 ~ 24 February

Dear parents, Our new students are settling into college routines and all students have made a very positive start to the school year. Term 1 is always a busy time as we have our opening Mass, a number of camps and retreats, the swimming carnival, parent information evenings and, of course, the commencement of assessment tasks. Our Year 7 students appear to be enjoying the opportunities that the college offers. The girls also seem to be enjoying the social aspects of college life and I am led to believe that many new friendships are already being made. I had the pleasure of meeting a group of exstudents who meet each year for lunch. The girls completed high school in 1960 and they returned to visit and view a statue that they had presented as their leaving gift. The ladies were very excited to be back in the college and they recounted many fond memories of school life in 1960. I am continually amazed by the connection that the ex-students have with the college and their great pride in being a St Mary’s girl. Another ex-student, Catherine Woods, gave the keynote address at our HSC assembly which acknowledged the success of the 2010 graduates. Catherine was College Captain and is now a successful journalist. She spoke about the wonderful benefits of a St Mary’s education, captivating the girls with her reflections on life after school. While we are very proud of our current St Mary’s students, we have much to be proud of when we reflect on the contributions and achievements of our ex-students. Friday 11 February saw the launch of our “Living Water” project where we recognised our responsibility to care for the environment. This project was an initiative of Parrys Raines, a Year 10 student, who brought the proposition (of making our college free of plastic water bottles) to the school executive last year. Parrys worked with our Stewardship Captain, Olivia Todhunter, our Conservation Club Chair, Kayla Steele, and our Business Manager, Darren Grant, to bring this project to life. The initiative was launched with an

assembly and liturgy that drew out the importance to our future of “living water”. All students received a metal water bottle to use at the newly-installed filling stations strategically located across the college. This project has very much been an example of student power, with students involved in every aspect of the process, including the choice of water bottle.

message in his wise words for all of us. I pray that you and your family have a relaxing weekend and a peace-filled and happy week. Yours sincerely, Frank Pitt, Principal

My thanks to both the students and staff who have shown us a way to positively contribute to the environment. Our next project involves cleaner and more efficient ways of dealing with our waste, including recycling, waste as compost for our gardens and educating students on using recyclable materials. We are also preparing to put our solar panels on line and to make full use of our water tanks. I will keep you updated on new initiatives as they are launched. The AGM of our Parents & Friends Association was held on Wednesday night. I would like to thank our 2010 P&F executive for their great work and generosity of both time and talent. I was very grateful to have such a supportive team in my first year as Principal of St Mary’s. I am delighted to welcome back a number of our 2010 executive to our 2011 executive team. I thank your for your commitment and look forward to working with you in 2011. The new executive team is: President Helen Bow, Vice Presidents Megan Waud and Catherine Sutton, Secretary Maggie Henderson, Treasurer Kevin Grimmer. The political climate has been somewhat tense over past weeks with much discussion around asylum seekers and speculation about the upcoming State election. In many cases, politics can cloud people’s perceptions and result in compassion being lost in decisions that are made. At such times I am reminded of the words of that great statesman, Abraham Lincoln. He was being criticised for his attitude towards his enemies and was asked “why do you try to make friends with them? You should try to destroy them”. Lincoln responded gently by saying “I am destroying them. I do this when I make them my friends.” Perhaps there is a

Opening Mass 2011


Parking I have had a number of requests from both bus drivers and teachers regarding parking and the need to ensure that we are leaving bus zones clear for buses to park. This is an issue for the college both in the morning and afternoon and it is causing a degree of stress for those responsible for keeping our girls safe. Can I ask that parents please park in the appropriate spaces and if they are dropping their daughters off that they do so in a manner that is safe for all of our girls. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Frank Pitt

Careers corner Discovery Day: On 7 February Year 12 attended the Wollongong Uni Discovery Day, which allows them to live the life of a university student for a day. Each student had a time table of lectures which they attended. They also had an opportunity to listen to current students’ stories of how they got to be at UOW. Work experience: Year 10 are preparing for work experience which will be held from 14 to 18 March. We have many aspiring career women, including accountants, solicitors, nurses, actors, vets, zoologists and one or two teachers. We look forward to hearing many great stories. We thank the parents for all their support during this hectic time. Pauline Judd, Post School Advisor

St Mary’s students at UOW Discovery Day

Creative Arts Many wonderful results were achieved with our 2010 HSC cohort. We had excellent results in all Creative Arts subjects and some exemplary individual results. Hannah Edensor had an amazing HSC Dance result of 98 and was awarded 2nd in the State for Dance. Stephanie Power was nominated for Call Back, a showcase of exemplary works from the HSC Dance practical examinations, for both her major study performance and her core performance. Megan Biggs was nominated for Call Back for her core composition, danced by Claire McKinnon.

opportunities at the college and senior Dance students this year have offered to lead a Junior Dance Ensemble. We have started two Year 7 ensembles, one for jazz and one for modern dance. These two ensembles currently have over 60 girls attending. They are led by Bethany Toohey, Lauren Farrugia, Amelia Carrasco and Chloe Bradley. A Year 8 dance ensemble is led by Rebecca Hobbs and Claire and Emma Stanley, and a Year 9 ensemble is led by Claudia Edensor and Kate Marning. All of these students currently study Dance at the college and will be supervised by me. Kerri Harrigan, Creative Arts Coordinator

Amy Boyle’s Music 1 composition was nominated for Encore. She was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship at Wollongong University and will be studying a double degree, Bachelor of Creative Arts, Bachelor of Arts. Imogen Malfitano achieved 100% in her Music extension performance and has successfully gained placement at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. America Dance tour: 17 Dance elective students have been preparing with excitement for their tour to America and Hawaii in June/July this year. The girls from Years 10, 11 and 12 auditioned late last year to take part in two performances at the Los Angeles Disney Park as well as the Disney California Adventure Park. The girls will also perform in Hawaii on the way back and will take part in Dance workshops within the Disney Performing Arts Academy as well as at The Edge studios. A showcase of the girls’ concert will take place during the Creative Arts Showcase on Wednesday 15 June in the SGN hall. Mary Poppins excursion: Elective Creative Arts classes from Years 9 to 12 will have the opportunity to experience the magic of a professional Broadway musical at the Capital Theatre in Term 2. Based on the books by Australian author PL Travers and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film, Mary Poppins has already dazzled audiences overseas. This spectacular production has many of the best-loved songs from the film. After the huge popularity of our Wicked excursion last year, it is clear that our students share a love of live theatre.

Our America dance troupe

Opening Mass dancers

Dance ensembles: This year the college is catering for a large number of interested students in a variety of dance ensembles running before school and at lunchtime. The America Dance Troupe meets twice a week to build their 30-minute performance for June. One of these rehearsals is taken by Cassie James and the other by me. Year 12 students at a recent Geography excursion

We continue to offer a range of leadership

2010 Dux, Rachael Zuzec, being congratulated by Mr Pitt at a school assembly

From the Dean of Studies

Thank you from Harshi

The 2011 student calendar is available online through the St Mary’s website. This calendar includes year and whole-school events and mapping of assessment tasks.

Harshi is a very capable young woman from Sri Lanka whom St Mary’s has helped to complete her university education since 2005. Harshi was left an orphan following the devastating 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. She had little prospects of a promising future so over the years, Year 11 students, the college Interact Club and staff have rallied behind Harshi and helped her meet her expenses.

I encourage all parents to go through this with their daughters to help them develop a study timetable which will assist with time management and preparation for future tasks. In developing good study habits, following is a set of guidelines to be considered: Mrs Brenda Wilson (Director), Ms Emma Magill (Dean of Pastoral Care) and Sr Christine Manning (Chair of Members) after the Opening Mass

Lions Youth of the Year Quest Last week, Annalise Farrugia (Year 12) competed at the region final against four other Lions representatives from other schools. Contestants had to answer questions posed by judges in a 30-minute interview on leadership, sporting, cultural and community interests, general knowledge and academic achievements. Contestants then had to prepare for the “speech evening” where they were required to respond to two impromptu questions and deliver a prepared five-minute speech. The judges found their task was difficult because the standard was so high. Annalise spoke eloquently about her views on “mobile etiquette”. She was a standout performer and had the audience captivated. Although not the overall winner, we were very proud of her presentation, poise and performance. Well done Annalise. Thank you to Olivia Todhunter, Madeleine Diggins, Mrs Todhunter, Sr Rita and Mrs Mayhew (ex-teacher) for their attendance and support, and Mrs Morris and Mrs Pulford for their assistance in preparing Annalise for this opportunity. Liz Davis

1. Set aside a particular time each day for study and revision and create a timetable which covers all subject areas. 2. Create a study environment away from interruptions with adequate lighting and ventilation. 3. Drink plenty of fluids, expecially water and eat healthy foods. Regular exercise and enough sleep each night is also important. 4. Provide rewards for studying, such as watching a favourite television show and spending time with family and friends. 5. Avoid interruptions by organising appropriate materials before commencing a revision session to minimise distractions. 6. Parents and family members can quiz their daughters on work covered. 7. Ask teachers for guidance if difficulties are encountered with a new concept or understanding something learnt earlier in the year. It is important that students have time for themselves and practise balance in their lives. It is through valuing this that our students will be better prepared to meet the challenges they will encounter throughout the year. Congratulations to all our students on an excellent start to the year! Gerry Sozio, Dean of Studies

Hockey The Wollongong Diocese 16 years hockey trials were held at Unanderra on 21 February. Congratulations to Taylor Dean, Mikayla Kelly, Jessica Knight and Jessica Wotherspoon on gaining selection, with Rebecca Panozzo named as a shadow player. The girls will travel to Wyong in March to attend the NSW CCC hockey trials. Good luck girls! Belinda Sparks, Sports Coordinator Annalise Farrugia and Olivia Todhunter

Last year, staff held a book sale and money was sent to Harshi in December. Despite her outstanding academic achievements, she is still unable to secure employment, partly because she lives far away from major centres and she lacks work experience. We continue to search for options for her. Here is her letter of thanks and a recent photo of her graduation. Liz Davis “Dear Miss Liz Davis and staff at St Mary’s, Thank you very much for the lovely surprise of a Christmas gift you sent me. Mrs Manori handed me Rupees 22,000 which is $210 that you had given her. Once again, thank you very much. I am very grateful for your kindness and will never forget you all. Happy New Year to you! Harshi”

Middle School news Year 7 students are to be congratulated on how well they have settled into their Middle School classes. I have had a chance to visit most classes and it has been a delight to see the girls working very collaboratively with their new classmates and teachers. This week the students commenced lessons using their new laptops and were learning the basics such as how to log on, navigate around the college homepage, send an email and access material on the on-line classrooms. As part of the Quality Learning approach in Year 7, students will be working this week with their teachers and peers to negotiate criteria for their Learning Process Reviews which will enable students to undertake self-reflection on their approach to their learning. Year 8 students will be looking at the interesting topic of forensics in their enrichment classes, integrating key Maths, Science and RE concepts. Year 8 and 9 students will be issued with their assessment manuals this week to assist the students in planning their schedule of tasks each term. Terese Coleman

25 Feb 11 Mar 13 Mar 15 Mar

Swimming carnival at Corrimal pool (Years 7, 8, 12 and competitors from all years) School Certificate awards assembly Year 7 P&F welcome BBQ 4pm in BBQ area Open Day tours 9am, 11.30am, 2pm, 4.30pm

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

News from the P&F

help your brain switch on.

Thanks to all parents who came along to our first P&F meeting of the year. Minutes of the meeting will be available with the next Newsletter.

• Try to get out of bed when you wake up rather than going back to sleep. • Get out in the fresh air and do some exercise. Even if it feels difficult, this will help you to wake up and improve your sleep the next night.

If you have concerns, issues or ideas you would like to raise with the school, don’t wait for the next meeting, email or call the me (0438 662 333), Megan Waud (0408 292 233 ) or Maggie Henderson (0425 358 649). What next for education in the State of NSW? The NSW Parent’s Council and the Australian Council for Educational Leaders are co-hosting an Educational Forum at the Illawarra Grammar School, Western Avenue, Wollongong on Wednesday 2 March at 7pm. All are welcome to attend. “This is an excellent opportunity for our parents and caregivers to discover their local candidates’ views on a vast range of educational issues affecting our children’s future”, stated Anne Crabb, Executive Officer, NSW Parents’ Council. Year 7 Welcome BBQ: The P&F are looking forward to meeting our Year 7 students and their parents and families at the upcoming Year 7 BBQ. If you haven’t already, please RSVP as soon as you can for catering purposes. If you are a Year 8 parent and can help out, please email or call Megan Waud on 4229 2222, 0408 292 233 or email meganjwaud Outdoor Movie Night: We are keen to hold a movie night towards the end of this term but need volunteers to help organise the event. If this is something you’d like to help with, please let us know. Family Care Project: We need volunteers to cook meals for our college families who are in need. If you can help, please complete the form (available on the college website) and send it to the college addressed to the P&F. Regards, Helen Bow, President P&F Association

While you’re out and about... • Stay off caffeine after midday or if you’re sensitive try to cut it out altogether. Catherine Woods, former College Captain, having morning tea with Frank Pitt after the HSC awards assembly

Kulilla Corner Sleep and young people: Sleep is super important and it changes during adolescence. Making sure you get enough sleep can be tricky, but it’s important to find the right balance so you can be alert and energetic during the day and feel good about yourself. What can HELP a good night’s sleep? Create your own relaxing bedtime routine to program your body clock: • Ensure you’re not too hot or too cold. Keep your feet at the right temperature by putting on or taking off socks. • Have a warm drink. Milk contains amino acids that can make you drowsy, and camomile tea can also help with sleep. • Create a sleep space that works for you it should be quiet, dark, less cluttered. • Do relaxing activities in order to wind down. These might include reading or listening to music softly. A warm bath or shower can help to make you feel sleepy. • Turn off your computer and phone an hour before you go to sleep. Kick start your day... • Wake up at the same time each day and catch the morning sun. Waking up with sunlight will restart your body clock and

• Try not to nap unless you’re tired. If you do nap, keep it short. • Write a Journal to get out all the important thoughts, worries or events from the day. Don’t stress if you find yourself waking up in the night. It’s actually pretty normal, and worrying about getting back to sleep will probably keep you up longer. Try to relax and wait for the next wave of sleepiness to arrive, and if you find yourself staring at the clock, try turning it around. Reference: Orygen Youth Health

Parent Line NSW The State Government funded helpline, Parent Line NSW (managed by CatholicCare) provides a free support service to parents across NSW. Skilled professional counsellors are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take calls from parents and carers about any parenting issue, from concerns about distant adolescents to complex challenges of living in blended families. It is the only free counselling service available to parents, at any time of the day or night, anywhere in NSW. It’s convenient because parents can call when it suits them, they don’t have to arrange child care to talk to a professional counsellor and they can call as many times as they need. We have a website for parents, carers and professionals ( with a range of tip sheets for parents about contemporary issues facing families today, some parenting stories written by our counselling team that normalise parenting challenges and some links to other NSW services. Our telephone counselling line is 1300 1300 52 and is available for the cost of a local call from a land line.

ADHD Support Group Drop In Morning - support and information - Friday 25 Feb, Citylife Church, 10.30am-12pm. No cost, donations welcome. contact Jill 0414 650 506 or Cathy 0407 292 190.

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


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