Sionian Magazine Spring 2022 Edition #35

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SIONIANS Beyond the Cherry Red Gates Spring 2022 | Edition 35 Our Lady of Sion College Past Students’ Magazine

From the College Captains Contents

Chelsea Lim and Alannah Marino College Captains

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PO Box Kerrimuir,254VIC 3129 E: Front cover image Justice Tsalamandris

this year with very open minds, yet a very clear vision of what kind of legacy we wanted to leave. In our application speeches, we both highlighted the fact that, for us, the role was just as much about leading the school in 2022 as it was about leading the students who are the future of Sion. It was (and still is) our desire to support all of them in realising their full potential and inspire them to find confidence to become the leaders of the future. Now as we reach the end of our time at Sion, we hope that they continue our school’s legacy of community and companionship, making a positive impact for the generations

Sionians: Beyond the Cherry Red Gates is produced by Our Lady of Sion College, 1065 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill, Victoria 3128.

3 From the desk of the Principal 4-5 Mentors’ Breakfast & Where are they now? 6-7 Sion’s Legal EagleJustice Tsalamandris 8-9 2s Reunion 10-11 When Past and Present Embrace & From the Archives


Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Our Lady of Sion College. The editor reserves the right to amend or reject any item submitted for Tina Apostolopoulos, Lady of Sion College

Correspondencepublication.iswelcomed to:

As the school has just begun the process of electing the Year 12 Leadership Team for 2023, we have found ourselves frequently discussing what we as Captains are leaving behind for the next leaders of our community. Although the idea of legacy has been a large focus for us throughout this year, it’s still hard to believe that this future after Sion is approaching us so quickly.

Principal, Our

Thank you to those who contributed to the articles and photographs in this issue.

Amongst its many challenges, Year 12 has been a significant year of growth for us both. We’ve been fortunate enough to fulfil the goals we dreamt up together back in Years 8 and 9, and create new initiatives in collaboration with the other Year 12 leaders and the SRC team this year. We have many shared values and it has been a great experience to be able to display these through our leadership. What we have especially appreciated though, is how much we have grown in our personal friendship and the opportunities this role has given us to learn alongside other inspiring people in our Wecommunity.wentinto

A highlight of our school is the desire for students to give back. We see this through our co-curricular and leadership programs where older students take pride in the support they have received and the way they use this to mentor others. It is not uncommon for Year 12 students to work with Year 8 or 9 students by giving them advice about how to approach their studies, or our Big Sound Sisters helping Year 7 students to learn a musical instrument or refine their performance skills. Similarly, Student Leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to strengthening the community spirit they have enjoyed through encouraging all students to participate in House and Community events. This unique and often spontaneous mentorship fosters the family atmosphere students enjoy and value.

Tina Apostolopoulos, Principal

At our Term 2 assembly I had the pleasure of speaking with our two College Captains, Alannah Marino and Chelsea Lim in what has now become a tradition at our school – ‘A conversation with the Principal’. It is an unscripted dialogue that students enjoy as we engage in a variety of topics. This year we shared thoughts about the legacy, they and I hope to leave. We all agreed that we hoped that our time at the College inspires others to aim high and recognise that we all have the potential to lead in whatever field we choose so that our leadership makes a positive difference in our Inworld.this

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they receive from past students who have been loyal supporters of our annual Mentor’s Breakfast and Visual Arts Conversations. I hope you also enjoy witnessing how our annual reunions are a great joy for those who attend to reminisce about their time at the College. I thank all past students for the legacy to which you also contribute through your continued presence presence and support.

edition of our Sionian magazine we recognise the tremendous support of our past students who continue this wonderful legacy. In 2018 we were pleased to invite Judge Tsalamandris as she was then known to speak at our Top Achievers assembly. It is with great pride that we now congratulate Her Honour on her appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria. As you will read in this edition, Her Honour’s life beyond Our Lady of Sion College has been one of service to others including Amy Wood, barrister (Class of 2001) and Tyra O’Neil, law student (Class of 2017) who have been inspired by Judge Tsalamandris.

In this edition you will also read how current students continue to benefit from the experience and advice

I also take this opportunity to share that in 2023, the College will embark on the next stage of our Masterplan, an exciting building project that will serve the needs of our students well into the future. The construction of a STEAMD and Administration Centre will act as a Project and Design Hub that will support innovation in the teaching of Science, Technologies, Engineering, and the Arts and Design. It will not only foster the creative and critical thinking skills of our students but also provide innovative ways to encourage and support our students to continue to pursue their interest in STEAMD. The College remains committed to providing an excellent learning environment where students may continue to grow, develop and work towards the endless opportunities that await them beyond secondary school. If you would like to read and see more please head to our website au/our-college/our-facilities

From the desk of the Principal

STEAMD and Administration Centre: Artist impression

Current students tell us they value the strong sense of belonging that exists at our school. The high expectations and supportive community spirit create an environment where students feel safe and able to pursue their ambitions. The goal to which staff aspire is that every student is named and known, and where learning and personal development is of the utmost importance. It is a goal that has been evident in our school from its establishment in 1928. We work to achieve this through the relationships students enjoy with staff and peers, and the invitation we extend to them through our learning and wellbeing programs, and the extensive co-curricular opportunities we offer.

We welcomed keynote speaker Sandra Rigo (Class of 1988), a Director at the town planning firm Hansen Partnership. Sandra offered many insights into her 27 year career as well as four important lessons for professional success: ‘love what you do’, ‘be true to yourself’, ‘be grateful for what you have’ and ‘expect change to happen’.

Mentors’ Breakfast

It was a wonderful opportunity for our Year 12 students to engage in conversations with their ‘mentors’ and discover more about the careers they are considering.

I thought it was really good having a range of guest speakers from all different industries, as this gave me the chance to hear about different career paths that I hadn’t considered before and to learn more about them.

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If you are interested in participating in future mentoring opportunities with our students, please contact Ms Brooke O’Hara, our Careers and Pathways Coordinator on 98909097 or

In June, we were delighted to host our annual Mentors’ Breakfast with 17 past students volunteering their time to share their career journeys with our Year 12 students.

Sandra spoke about how important it is to have a mentor in your career, particularly if you have aspirations to achieve the most out of your career. She emphasisied how important it is to be passionate, enjoy what you do, celebrate success and learn from your mistakes.

Sandra Rigo (Class of 1988) Director, Hansen Partnership Pty Ltd

What advice would you give our current students who have aspirations and dreams about their future careers?

My fondest memories at Sion are mostly focussed on the friendships I made, many of which I still have, the camps, hanging out in the Year 12 common room and getting up to a bit of mischief sleeping over at school the night before our last day of school. And I have to mention the chocolate mates and cocktail fruit lollies from the tuckshop!

To not be working as hard as I am at the moment! I would like to focus on using my experience and knowledge to give back to the profession, whether it be in a decision making capacity, mentoring or helping others reach their goals.

Your role as a town planner is a dynamic and creative one. What do you love the most about being a town planner?

To find your passion, take a chance and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. You will find a way to make it happen if you are passionate about it, sometimes you need a little patience too.

The most enjoyable part of my role is watching the people that I have mentored grow and advance their careers, regardless of whether that is at Hansen or elsewhere in other organisations, particularly those who are in leadership roles themselves. It is personally very satisfying and pleasing to see their professional growth and success. I also enjoy the fact that I am continuing the role of one of the founding partners of Hansen

Outside project work, Sandra is a strong supporter of women in the property industry with a particular focus on the professional development and mentoring of young planners. For a number of years she was the only female director of the company (until May 2019) and has taken a leading role in the mentoring of female staff.

In my first permanent job I was the only female, as well as the most junior person in my team. The basic challenge at first was being taken seriously. Working really hard and always putting my hand up to work on more challenging projects got me noticed – drawing attention to myself as a highly motivated professional who always gives it 100% no matter the task, was how I proved myself and overcome those challenges.

I love that town planners are involved in such a broad range of things, we know a bit about design and architecture, traffic and car parking issues, ecological issues, infrastructure, sustainability, climate change, cultural heritage and so on. There is never a dull moment and I am always learning.

Where are they now?

(who retired 10 years ago), having benefited from her mentoring and support myself.

You are a great example of how you can pave the way for women in a male dominated industry. What challenges did you face with respect to gender and how did you overcome them?

What were your fondest memories of Sion?

What did your Sion education teach you?

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It taught me to always try my best, to be grateful, be true to myself and don’t be afraid to have a go.

What are your plans for the future?

For several years, you were the only female director at Hansen Partnership Pty Ltd, and you have taken a leading role in the mentoring of female staff, fostering their career development and opportunities, and promoting gender equality in the Whatworkplace.doyou enjoy the most about this part of your role?

Sandra is a town planner with over 27 years of experience, including 22 years as a consultant. As a Director and leader of Hansen Partnership Pty Ltd, her role has broadened beyond consultant town planner to include the legal duties and responsibilities of a company director, the day to day administration of the business, the management and recruitment of planning staff and the management of the professional development of staff.

Sion’s legal eagle - Justice Tsalamandris

It is always a very proud and exciting moment when students leave our College and pursue their passions and dreams. It is indeed an honour and a privilege to inform members of the Past Students Association that this is exactly the case for Justice Tsalamandris who was appointed by the State government as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria on 22 February 2022. For the Sionian Spring edition, former Sion graduates, Amy Wood and Tyra O’Neill, were delighted to speak to the Honourable Justice Tsalamandris to hear about her journey from Sion to the bench of the Supreme Court.

During her time as College Captain, Her Honour enjoyed engaging with the student body across all year levels. She was committed to being a strong voice for students, and to promoting a “happy and cohesive environment” After graduating, Her Honour followed in her mother’s footsteps, and joined the College Council. Whilst on the Council, Her Honour’s efforts helped secure plans to build the multipurpose

at that moment she wanted to become a lawyer. Her Honour’s pathway to becoming a lawyer took a detour when she did not achieve the required Year 12 score to study Law. She cried in despair for two days and accepted an offer to study a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University. Unsurprisingly, Her Honour had a plan to overcome her Year 12 result and get into Law school. After two years of hard work and determination, Her Honour got the marks which allowed her to transfer into Law at Monash University. Her Honour completed the Law course and graduated with Honours.

Justice Tsalamandris in judicial robes in chambers of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Justice Tsalamandris graduated from Sion in 1987. She was the College Captain and a keen member of Fatima house. Her Honour remembers her time at Sion fondly, including the old uniform. “I love pink and red”. Her Honour remembers having great teachers, in particular, Sister Mary. She stated that she received an “incredible education at Sion”. It was a very nurturing school, with a supportive and encouraging culture. Throughout her years at Sion, Her Honour explained that her faith and commitment to Catholic values developed. Since graduating, she has maintained her faith, and it remains a special and important part of her life today.

Justice Tsalamandris commenced her legal career in 1994 at Holding Redlich, and worked in its personal injury law division, Adviceline Injury Lawyers (now Redlich’s Work Injury Lawyers). She was made Senior Associate in 1997, and a partner of the firm in 2002. Her Honour practised predominantly in personal injury litigation, and was an accredited specialist in that area of Law. Practising in personal injury litigation was especially important to Her Honour. Her Honour performed her work fearlessly, and with great care, because the outcome of each case would be “lifechanging” for her client.

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As a solicitor, Her Honour was involved in two note worthy cases. Firstly, Her Honour acted for First Nations people, Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner. As children, they were forcibly removed from their families and placed in institutions. Whilst the Court held that their claims were made too late in time, and dismissed their claims for compensation, the case was socially and


fascination with the Law commenced when she was about 13 years of age. Her family was involved in a legal case with her sister, Angela, who had severe cerebral palsy. There was a dispute as to whether Angela had the required mental capacity to seek access to her own medical records. Her Honour attended the hearing, and was “mesmerised by the theatre of the courtroom”. It was “an amazing experience”, and she decided

Secondly, Her Honour acted for a small group of parents who brought an action against the Victorian Department of Education arguing that religious education should not be compulsory for children in the State school system. Her Honour was firmly of the view that religious education was a matter of choice, and should not be taught to children in school, unless the child attended a religious school. Despite the fact that the legal proceeding was unsuccessful, it was the catalyst for change to government policy.

In 2016, Her Honour was appointed by the State government as a Judge of the County Court of Victoria. During Her Honour’s welcome address, it was said of Judge Tsalamandris (as she then was) that: “Your old school’s vision statement is “Sowing the seeds of hope, uncovering excellence within, and inspiring a commitment to justice.” Your Honour has done all that and much more.”

politically significant. It brought about further community awareness, changes to government policy, and the historic apology to the Stolen Generation. Her Honour received the Civil Justice Award from the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers Alliance, and the Law Foundation Award for the work she performed prosecuting the claims of Cubillo and Gunner.

Justice Tsalamandris (centre) with Tyra O’Neill (left) and Amy Wood (right) in the Old High Court Library

Throughout her career, Her Honour has been an active supporter of female lawyers. As a partner at Adviceline Injury Lawyers, she developed and implemented a policy to assist women who were returning to work after maternity leave, and a policy to facilitate women who were attempting to balance life as a mother and career woman. She also established a network of working mums who were returning to work.

On behalf of the Sion community, we congratulate Her Honour on her appointment to the Supreme Court of Victoria. We wish her every success for this chapter of her legal career, and hope that her service on the Court is both satisfying and distinguished.

measures to ensure that the Common Law division of the County Court continued to hear and determine cases via video conferencing during the COVID pandemic.

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Justice Tsalamandris served as a Judge on the County Court for a period of six years before her elevation to the Supreme Court in February 2022. During her time as a Judge of the County Court, Her Honour was the Head of the Common Law Division and the joint judge in charge of the Medical List. Her Honour is highly proficient in the use of technology. She conducted the first entirely electronic jury trial in the County Court, and was instrumental in establishing and implementing

Justice Tsalamandris overlooking the courtyard of the Supreme Court of Victoria

Justice Tsalamandris is only the third solicitor ever appointed to the Supreme Court in Victoria’s history. She is indeed a remarkable woman, and graduate of Our Lady of Sion. Her story is a testament to the fact that with faith, determination and perseverance, great things can be achieved. She is an inspiration to young women, and to all members of our school community.

Amy Wood, barrister and Sion class of 2001 and Tyra O’Neill, law student and Sion class of 2017.

We thank all past students as well as Sister Patricia Watson, current teacher Jenny Schwab and past teacher Claire Taylor for joining us on the day. We would also like to thank the generous donations we received for the Daughter of Sion Award.

2s Reunion

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On Saturday 28 May, we held our ‘2s’ Reunion at the College and what a wonderful afternoon of reminiscing and reconnecting it was for all who attended. There were many laughs shared among the group and especially as they reacted to the slideshow of photos on the big screen. Perhaps the most raucous laughter was reserved for when the College Captains of 1992, Sam and Jane, donned their school uniform and enthusiastically posed for the camera! The past students who attended, appreciated the opportunity to have been given a school tour which prompted many comments about how the school had changed; ‘Much more modern than when we were at school’, we heard a few guests remark!

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• Julia Tingate – Visual Arts Captain 2021 (class of 2021)

• Bec Franzoni - Masters in teaching at Monash and Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communication studies (2018)

• Monique Pulverenti - Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) at RMIT (2021)

It is always wonderful to have our past students visiting the College especially when it is to share their experiences and help our current students.

When Past and Present Embrace

• Lana Gallagher Associate Degree in Fashion and Textiles Merchandising and then a Bachelor of Fashion Enterprise (2019)

We were really proud to have offered our VCE students two opportunities to gain insights from our past students to help with their university application process and portfolio requirements for Visual Arts University entry. Past students spoke about the subjects they undertook in Year 12, the role Visual Arts plays in their world, their creative journey and what helped equip them to provide successful applications. Our current students were able to ask questions, share concerns and gain advice to help them prepare for their applications. Having this first hand personal experience is invaluable and we thank our past students for their time and effort at both sessions:

• Georgia Drake – Bachelor of Communication Design, Swinbourne (class of 2019)

• Emily Chim, Bachelor of Graphic Design at RMIT (2017)

In January 1890, seven Sisters, led by the youthful Superior Mother Raphaela, set sail from London bound for Australia with the purpose of establishing a school in the Diocese of Sale and thereby laying the foundation for what is now our Sion community. The Sisters’ arduous journey took 42 days sailing via Gibraltar, Naples, Port Said, through the Suez Canal and the Gate of Tears before stopping in at Colombo and their final destination, Australia. Mother Raphaela was a talented artist and had in fact taught art and drawing to her students in the Sion boarding school in Paris. Throughout her journey she took the time to stop and marvel at the beauty she witnessed, capturing it in these exquisite watercolours. This appreciation for beauty is evident in all that the Sisters did and can be seen in the way they placed emphasis on creating a beautiful environment for their students. As we look around the College today, we can reflect on the work of these pioneering Sisters and stop to appreciate the beautiful environment which has been cultivated from their vision. Working and learning within such a beautiful setting helps our students be motivated and inspired, allowing them to learn, flourish, and grow. Below is some of Raphaela’s beautiful art that has been discovered in our archives. Matthew Roberts, Archivist

We remember the following Daughters of Sion and their families in our prayers:

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

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From the archives

Chantelle Baxter (Class of 2002).

Margaret Kermode (née Kermode, 1965)

12 Spring 2022 Sionians: Beyond the Cherry Red Gates Notices Our Lady of Sion College 1065 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill, VIC 3128 03 9890 9097 | |