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S t P aul ’ s futurum GRAMMAR SCHOOL

St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith penrith, australia

No. 39 Autumn 2006

ST PAUL’S IS A SCHOOL WITH A CLEARLY DEFINED VISION. In this article, the Principal, Mr John Collier, focusses on the two key visionary features of the school. The first is its classic grammar school emphasis on quality education, including the classics, languages and the performing arts, as seen in a 21st century context; the second is its integrated Christian stance. This article expands on these

Some happy 2005 Year 12s about to launch into a productive study break in preparation for final examinations

Congratulations Year 12 2005

The Best Results In The History Of The School There was the hum of excited anticipation and anxiety on the morning of 4th January 2006 as the 2005 International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students assembled in the school’s front office to find out the results of so many years’ study. These had arrived hot off the press at 2.00 am that morning, Australian results being the first in the world to be released in order to meet tight Australian university enrolment schedules. Only with this release were the school’s results to be complete, the HSC results having been released before Christmas. As results were given one student at a time, with many whoops of delight that echoed

down the school corridors, the IB candidates gradually became aware of just how well they and their fellow students had done. It became apparent that the school was developing the sort of cooperative academic culture that produced excellence, not merely by a small elite, but by a large body of students that was growing in number year by year. Of 126 students, six were in the top 1% of the State, and 37 – nearly one-third of students – in the top 10%. Claire Willard, a student at the school since Year 3 and Dux for 2005, had a Universities Admission Index (UAI) score of 99.85, the best in the history of the school: I was really happy with my result.

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I worked hard over the whole course, but particularly in the last few months – finalising several major assessments, writing up notes and doing some past papers. I am grateful to my really amazing teachers, my family and my friends – I would not be where I am without them. I spent Christmas with relatives in Hong Kong where I explored the possibility of doing English language teaching – it’s something I might do in university holidays. As I’m still thinking about what career I might pursue, I’ve chosen to study more general courses – a double degree in Advanced Science and Arts at the University of Sydney – to maximise my options. Among my subjects this year will be

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St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

year 12 2005

tHE BEST RESULTS IN THE HISTORY OF ST PAUL’S French, Chemistry and Biology, all of which I am continuing from school. I’ve also been invited into the Talented Students’ Program by the Dean of the Faculty of Science, based on my UAI and science results – hopefully

Charlene Gerrard received a UAI of 99.45: It was a good result, but I thought I’d do better in my Theory of Knowledge essay. For my extended essay I did something on aggression, looking at the link between aggression and

changed the way in which I perceive the world. Lakshmi Baratha Raj received a UAI of 99.15: I am spending six months of 2006 working with a Non-Government Organisation


On the day the results came out: (from left) Declan Price, Charlene Gerrard, Elisabeth Paul, Lakshmi Baratha Raj and Chantal Nguyen



this will allow me to pursue areas of interest. It enables the faculty to offer an intellectual challenge – an academic mentor, special seminars, special projects, attending higher years’ programs, acceleration. I’m moving into a church-affiliated lodge in the city, which will be another big change for me.

brain function. It helped with the subject Psychology and with research skills. I am doing a combined degree in Arts and Law at the University of Sydney this year which will include the subjects Latin, Psychology, Sociology and Economics.

My advice to other students? Work hard over the long haul; consult the teachers, who do want to help you as much as possible; and pick up subjects you enjoy, rather than letting others make the choice for you.

Chantal Nguyen also received a UAI of 99.45: In 2006 I intend to realise a long-held dream and pursue full-time ballet at Ecole in Lindfield. Success in ballet is notoriously difficult to achieve, and thus towards the end of 2006 I will decide whether to continue or take up a deferred course in Law and International Studies. Although many dancers leave senior school in order to do full-time dancing, I have no regrets about having stayed to do the IB. I believe the last two years of schooling have been invaluable in my academic and, more importantly, personal development. In particular, I found Theory of Knowledge notably challenging and enlightening. My essay in this area briefly touched on the nature of faith, rationality, truth and ‘fact’, and how these concepts relate to religious knowledge and other areas. In many ways I feel that this has

Elisabeth Paul was ‘happy, surprised, pleased’ at her result of 99.60: Why did I do so well? I suppose I was okay in all my subjects. I plan to study a double degree of Law and International Studies at the University of Sydney. I’d like to get work in the diplomatic corps, and am interested in politics and in justice issues. Such a course would also give me an opportunity to continue with French, Philosophy and Psychology.

(NGO) in the area of the environment and education in Mali in West Africa. The remainder of 2006 I’ll spend working back in Australia to repay the loan for my travel to and volunteer work in Mali. In 2007, I will study Science or Medicine if nothing else turns up. Declan Price also received a UAI of 99.15: This was an unexpectedly good result. I was hoping to get around 90. I worked hard – I gave myself a boost at the end. I plan to study a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) at the University of Sydney, a course that should give me a number of career options. I have a real love of sport. I play soccer for the Penrith Churches Soccer Team and hockey for Emu Plains. I’d look to a career that is linked with those interests. Gareth Bryant received a UAI of 95.35: I chose to do the HSC rather than the IB because I had more subject choices in the areas in which I was interested. I think I’d make the same course choice again. My best subjects were Maths, Economics and Legal


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

Studies, interests I’ll pursue at university. I am studying for a Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney and will study the subjects Economic Theory, Government and International

and have some fun with your friends.

subjects dealing with finance at school.

Neil Paranjpe received a UAI of 91.80: I did better in my HSC than I expected. The school was great in that they marked

The depth of quality results has meant that many students have been able to do courses they had hoped – James Robertson on 98.8 was happy with a result

All set to do their chosen tertiary courses: (from left) Gareth Bryant, Stephen Zhang (with homestay host Ms Denise Gow) and Joshua Mestroni (in animated conversation with Head of Middle School Ms Diane Longland)

hard and this motivated me to work hard. The mixture of subjects I did, particularly Business Studies and Economics, were exactly what I needed to prepare me for my first tertiary education choice, a Bachelor of Finance at Macquarie University. I have chosen this path because my whole family is involved in this area and I have enjoyed

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St Paul’s 2005 University Courses Selected HEALTH





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St Paul’s 2005 University Placements

that was better than he needed for his Bachelor of Medical Science course at the University of Sydney; Joshua Mestroni on 98.3 was pleased that his result gave him easy entry to his course in communications and international studies at UTS, a course that will enable him to indulge his love of writing; and Courtney Norman’s UAI of 98.3 has led her to a Bachelor of Medical Science course at the University of Sydney.



Relations and Political Economics. This general course will provide a number of career options. I attribute my examination success to my subjects scaling well and hard work towards the end, particularly in examination papers practice. But while it’s important to stick at the work, I think it’s also important not to take school too seriously


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

year 12 2005



The following students were in the top 20% of the State:



Claire Willard Elisabeth Paul Charlene Gerrard Chantal Nguyen Lakshmi Baratha Raj Declan Price James Robertson Joshua Mestroni Courtney Norman Kathleen Hili Kelly-Anne Parbery Catherine Taylor Nathan Collins-Eastw ood Daniel Gunasekara Holly Harrison Scott Lytton Melissa Richardson Elizabeth Riley Michael Williams Gareth Bryant Timothy Dickeson Savannah Finlay James Gribble Rowan Humphreys Amba Provan Jeetpal Boparai Steele Clarke Stephen Irving Angelica Nohra Stephanie Vatala Neil Paranjpe Adelle Bourke Alyssa Gilbert Michael Tomkins Lachlan Geeves Abigail Haseltine Peng Zhang (Stephen) Lucy Hargrave Vinay Daniel Katrina Taylor-Goddard David Thomas Nicholas Fraser Alex Ferry Ben Hiley Dominique Anderson Andre Magar Daniel Clark Melanie Roddy Jana Shakas Kylie Faico Bethany Green Sunchit Mathur Nathan Anderson Christopher Jones

99.85 99.60 99.45 99.45 99.15 99.15 98.80 98.30 98.30 97.75 97.05 97.05 96.20 96.20 96.20 96.20 96.20 96.20 96.20 95.35 94.30 94.30 94.30 94.30 94.30 93.15 93.15 93.15 93.15 93.15 91.80 91.80 91.80 91.80 90.40 90.40 90.40 88.80 87.50 87.00 87.00 86.65 84.05 84.00 Mid80s 83.4 83.15 83.15 83.15 82.85 82.35 81.55 81.00 81.00

BAdSc/Arts BCombLaw BCombLaw BCombLaw (deferred) BAdSc (deferred) BAppScPhys BMedSc BACommWrit&CultSt BMedSc BACommJourn&IntStud BAppScPhys BPsych BAInterSt BAppScPhys (deferred) BMus BAppSc BPsychHons BACommJournalism BIndusDesign BEc&SocSc BDesArch BACommPubComm BAncHistHons (deferred) BEng/MBiomedEng BAn&VetBiosc BPharm BBus Tourism/Hospitality BComMktg/Hospitality BA Politics/Jounalism (def ) BAArchitecture BFin BSocWk BACommWrit&CultSt BDesComp BBus-City BArts/BLaws BComMktg/Hospitality BAppScOccTherapy BEng BBusHospitalityMgmt BHealthPDH&PE BEngElec BSc BEngGenDipEngPrac BMusMusEd BEngPetroleum BArts (deferred) BArtsMedia&Comm BSc BArts/Comm/SocSc/Law BDesVisArts BDesComp BScForSc BBus&Com

The University of Sydney The University of Sydney The University of Sydney University of New South Wales The University of Sydney The University of Sydney The University of Sydney University of Technology Sydney The University of Sydney University of Technology Sydney The University of Sydney The University of Sydney The University of Sydney The University of Sydney University of Western Sydney The University of Sydney Macquarie University University of Technology Sydney University of New South Wales The University of Sydney The University of Sydney University of Technology Sydney Macquarie University University of New South Wales The University of Sydney CSU Bathurst Blue Mountains Hotel School University of New South Wales Notre Dame University University of Technology Sydney Macquarie University The University of Sydney University of Technology Sydney The University of Sydney University of Technology Sydney University of Wollongong University of New South Wales The University of Sydney The University of Sydney University of Western Sydney University of Western Sydney The University of Sydney Macquarie University University of Technology Sydney The University of Sydney University of New South Wales The University of Sydney University of New South Wales The University of Sydney University of Western Sydney University of Western Sydney The University of Sydney University of Western Sydney University of Western Sydney


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

The Principal

St Paul’s Strategic Plan

The school curriculum: As society is changing, the school will seek to provide education of the highest standard that is high-tech and relevant to citizenship in the 21st century. It will continue to offer a broad curriculum with many pathways and subjects. It will blend the best of traditional Grammar School and recent innovatory education. The school will maintain a strong HSC and IB Diploma as senior alternatives; offer vocational education pathways; integrate IB and NSW Board of Studies courses; seek to develop critical, creative thinking, and research skills; continue to promote a Middle School culture that involves and engages students and continue the range and quality of co-curricula programs; upgrade community service aspects of curriculum; continue to develop student leadership; continue to provide appropriately for gifted and talented students and those with learning difficulties; and develop outdoor education skills through camps. Climate & ethos: Aims include to assist staff and community to celebrate the achievements of the school. Strong pastoral care networks will be maintained. Staffing: The employment and support of well qualified staff who share the school’s ethos is a crucial element in the success of the school. Outstanding Christian

Technology: The school aims to implement best practice recommendations within budgetary constraints. Staff members are to be equipped to continue to be competent users of technology within their teaching as well as their administration. Technology is to be fully integrated into learning so that students learn not just about, but through, technology. The school intranet is being upgraded; there is to be an extension of the usage of the school website. Property: Major new construction will include extension of the existing oval, improving facilities already on site, fully developing the present campus, refurbishment of existing buildings, a chapel, a core block for Senior students, a Learning Difficulty Support building, and a Junior School administration block. Fees/finances: The guidelines are that fees should be sufficient to ensure viability, but kept as low as possible to avoid hardship. Fundraising initiatives will be upgraded, long-range financial plans developed, an acceptable ceiling on debt per student ratio maintained, a capital borrowing plan developed to fund ongoing site development, and all program budgets will be maintained at an approved level of expenditure. Management issues: Continued efforts will be made to ensure there is a safe workplace and to ensure the school complies with relevant legislation in all areas. Periodically there will be a review of the school’s management structure to ensure it meets school needs.

Community: As there is a strong desire in the school to build up a sense of community, some means to this end are: engaging the community in support of the school through participation in information meetings and parent forums and Junior School class parent networks; endeavouring to sustain St Paul’s Ex-Students’ Association (SPEXS); harnessing the support of the community for such voluntary assistance at school as reading tutors, canteen helpers, working bee participants and professional mentors; celebrating successes of the school with the community; improving client service focus; and engaging students in interactions with the community. International & multicultural focus: This important and distinctive focus will be promoted by developing an awareness of cultural diversity under Christ. This will be done by ensuring the curriculum reflects international perspectives as distinct from merely those of Western Sydney or Australia, and by developing student interest in, and awareness of, global issues. More specifically, it will be carried out by promoting the value of the study of foreign languages; by encouraging the enrolment and progress of Chinese and other students; by exploring links with other sister-schools in other nations; by promoting tours of other cultures; by providing information to staff and community about International education; by utilising the IB curriculum to promote international awareness; by promoting study tours to and from St Paul’s; by assessing feasibility of a possible joint venture school in China; by reviewing possibilities of joint activity with the local Aboriginal community on adjoining land; and by undertaking teaching staff and student exchange with sister schools overseas. Governance: To maintain the present high standard of school governance, governing and managing roles will be clearly differentiated and supportive of each other. There will be the promotion of an effective working relationship and high levels of trust between directors and school management. Through the furnishing of written reports, school management will continue to provide directors with accessible information on school performance.


Christian education: Providing Christian education is at the heart of the school’s mission. The school aims to incorporate fully Christian perspectives into the whole school curriculum. More specifically, the school will seek to commend the Christian message without the imposition of undue pressure on students, continue to develop pastoral care of students, form links with local churches and Christian groups, and it will provide support to other Christian schools.

teaching staff will continue to be selected. There will be a premium on training teaching staff to teach Christianly. There will be training and development of staff to upgrade skills in line with latest NSW Departmental and IB curricula research. Teaching staff will be equipped to develop a Christian understanding of secular worldviews underlying their academic disciplines. Teaching staff will be equipped to incorporate research on whole brain learning, preferred learning styles, multiple intelligences, curriculum differentiation and critical and creative thinking into their classroom practice. A system of performance appraisal and staff development will be maintained which provides constructive feedback to staff as well as recognising and celebrating excellence.



ST PAUL’S STRATEGIC PLAN, writes School Principal Mr John Collier, is designed to take us into the future, and assist us to deliver well on our mission to our students. The plan is updated annually at our School Council’s all-day Strategic Planning Day and delivered to parents at parent forums. The length of the document may render it somewhat inaccessible and so, for the reason of broad general awareness, some extracts are printed here:


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

The Arts quarter


The finale of From Little Things... with Voice Mail choir; dance and drama performers; and (right) the music group Sirocco

DIRECTOR OF VISUAL AND Performing Arts Dr Michael Webb guides us through the opening and dedication of the new performing arts space at St Paul’s on Saturday 18 March 2006:


The Arts Quarter is a dedicated teaching, learning, performing and exhibition space that had been developed, designed then built over the first five years of the new millennium.



The Visual and Performing Arts Department planned a weekend arts festival to coincide with the school’s 2006 Open Day and large numbers of visitors, former and current students and parents toured the building and its grounds, some stopping for the performances in the foyer/gallery, on the outdoor stage or in several of the dedicated teaching and performing spaces. In keeping with the departmental vision of fostering a community where creative and cultural diversity is cherished, Friday evening included a concert of contemporary Australian jazz by Gary Daley and musicians, featuring gospel singer Evelyn Duprai and the Voice Mail choir in a performance of Gary’s piece, ‘Psalm’. A new CD recording

of ‘Psalm’ was being launched to coincide with the opening of The Arts Quarter. On Saturday a classical piano recital by our brilliant performer/teacher Jennifer Hammond OAM, and a young performers’ recital in the gallery space were highlights, while rock bands (of current and former students) and jazz bands played on the outdoor stage. Choir and folk group concerts and Aboriginal art and dance workshops were also held throughout the morning and afternoon. Special guest performers were the multicultural music group Sirocco, Aboriginal artist and musician David Hudson, and Aboriginal dancer Phil Gaia who performed a short, exciting work called ‘The Hunter’ before official guests in the evening. The festival’s highlight was three performances of a new theatrical work for our students and guest musicians devised and scripted by Drama teacher Josie Jones especially for the occasion, which told the story of The Arts Quarter and placed it in its broader communal, social, historical and cultural context. The piece, From Little Things. . . included acting, choral singing, live and filmed dance segments, and video

footage of past artistic accomplishments. The extended weekend of rehearsals and performances culminated in an official ceremony with a welcome by St Paul’s Principal Mr John Collier, and brief speeches by Mr Don Harwin and Mr Kim Hellyer from the school council, Mr Peter Anderson, Mr Kerry Bartlett MP, and me. Cathy Jarman led all those present in ‘The Prayer for the Work of our Hands’: Lord God, uncreated Creator, unimagined Imaginer, inexhaustible Originator, We recognise that you are a symbolising God and it is from you that we receive our own capacity and desire to symbolise. Made in your image we recognise that we and all people are artists in some way or another. In this building, in these rooms and spaces, through your grace guide our learning, our doing, our imagining, thinking and feeling. Teach us to see and hear that your symbols are real and lead us in the way eternal. These things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

chinese library books


From the 800 Chinese books given to the school (at left), Mandarin teacher Mr Samuel Chan chooses one to show interested students (from left) Jack Pollard, Brigida Johns and Kate Chalker

They saw the spectacular performance of the Bianzhong Chimes, Gong and Drums, activities such as Chinese shuttlecocks, a Chinese costume parade, the lion dance, Chinese music and songs and Chinese folk dance. They saw the students’ proficiency in Chinese culture and language in their performance of songs, poems and folk dance. And they enjoyed the delicious Chinese lunch. They were excited that we were doing so much, but saw that we needed more support. After Chinese Day, they contacted me to say that they would give the school 800 books. St Paul’s is the only K-12 school in Australia that has received such a gift.

FUTURUM interviewed Year 6 students Kate Chalker, Brigida Johns and Jack Pollard as they looked at the books. Jack said: I have been learning Chinese since Kindy. I have been a member of the Chinese club that meets on some Mondays in the Chinese Corner of the library with Chinese teacher Mr Li. There are about 15 from Years 4 to 6 in the club. We watch movies and do plays, but I have found it too hard to read books. The books that look interesting are the bilingual story, travel, traditional costumes and folk-painting bilingual books.

The books were selected by the Chinese government’s National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL) at the request of the Chinese Consul-

Brigida came to the school and started Chinese in Year 4: I can understand when I hear people speaking and I have quite a good idea about the characters. I’m sure the bilingual books will help my reading. Kate came to the school in Year 5, a year ago, and has been

studying Chinese for that one year: I can carry out some conversation, particularly greetings and when talking about animals. I can also read a textbook with pictures. I’m sure the bilingual books will help. Mr Chan added these comments: These three students are excellent and I’m sure the gift will benefit them, as it will many others. We’ll use the gifts in the Chinese Corner club and display them in the library to attract readers. In class we’ll demonstrate how they can be used. And I think teachers other than those teaching Chinese will find them a useful resource. While some have been reading the Chinese books in the library, most have not been able to because they are not bilingual. This gift will change all that and its use could be a breakthrough in Chinese linguistic and cultural understanding.


General in Sydney. They are targeted to those in English-speaking countries and are mostly bilingual. They cover travel, classical and modern literature, cooking, text books, and dictionaries. Such learning resources as flash cards, multimedia and CDs are also included.



IT ALL BEGAN ON CHINESE DAY in the Junior School last August. The Chinese Consul-General in Sydney, Mr Qiu Shao Fang, along with other officials of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, were invited to attend and, as Chinese teacher Mr Samuel Chan says, were impressed:


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

IB Graduation

hosting excellence

Mr Greg Valentine, Australasian Regional Representative of the IBO, addresses the assembled NSW and ACT IB Diploma students and their supporters in The Centre at St Paul’s


IT SEEMED THAT NOTHING had been left to chance in a carefully prepared graduation ceremony for 2005 International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students – a meticulously crafted and attractive program, excellent food, and the promise of a great deal of satisfaction, given the results of the students and the presence of supporters from Central Coast Grammar School, Copland College, The German International School, MLC School, Narrabundah College, Queenwood School for Girls, SCEGGS Redlands, Trinity Grammar School and, of course, St Paul’s.



But as starting time approached on that wet evening in mid February 2006, reports of traffic delays and an accident on the M4 due to flood rain conditions caused the ceremony to be delayed somewhat. Mr Antony Mayrhofer, IB Diploma Programme Co-ordinator at St Paul’s, brings out what he saw as the highlights of the event: The rain delay did not seem to dampen people’s spirits. I felt, instead, that the significance of an event that gave students a chance to reflect on their 13 years’ schooling was in the forefront of people’s minds. In the past, students have left school after their examinations without having a chance to stand back and reflect on their experience for the benefit of the whole community. The speech by St Paul’s dux Claire Willard and the music performances by students from the various schools were windows that provided an opportunity to reflect on the high standards of schooling under the IB programs – as well as the

diversity of approaches the various schools were able to offer. People’s response was that the evening went quickly, a good reaction, I thought. Mr Greg Valentine, Australasian Regional Representative of the IBO, spoke about the breadth of the IB Diploma, with its focus on both the heart and the head. Guest of Honour Professor Janice Reid, Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney, gave a wideranging, personal and supportive address that contained these comments that FUTURUM has selected randomly: Western Sydney, the third largest growth area in Australia, achieves and is enterprising in a situation of relative disadvantage. . . The IB educational programs are an exceptional grounding for the years to come. Pursuing the IB road, the road less travelled, is a path that encourages courage, adventurousness and openness. . . Be an intelligent opportunist. As John Lennon said, ‘Life happens to you while you are making other plans.’ But it is important to have values to fall back on, such as the IB values of fostering care and compassion, promoting respect and caring for others. . . We need just enough uncertainty to explore new opportunities. Claire Willard, Dux of St Paul’s, spoke in a way that encapsulated the experience of many IB students. Here are excerpts from her speech: The IB Diploma is largely academic, and I know. . . my research and learning skills are so much more developed now than at the end of Year 10. But the IB has been so much more than this. There have been the lasting

relationships, formed and strengthened during the two years, and personally, I have found that the diploma developed in me independence and perseverance. . . I have found that in particular the Creativity, Action and Service activities and journal, compulsory second language – French in my case – and most notably the subject Theory of Knowledge (TOK), have widened and challenged my views of the world, and of my place in it. In fact, I have been surprised at how often since completing my TOK essay, the essay topic has surfaced to haunt me in everyday life. The IB involves much group work, in the classroom and for example the Group 4 project, but for me it is the large, individual assessments, completed over a long period of time, that have proved the most significant. The need to organise research and completion of such tasks, alongside more short-term work, has made me more self-sufficient and disciplined – although it is true that occasional dire warnings from teachers and parents proved useful motivation! Now that the results are out, I trust that they are a source of pride and celebration for all here. But I think just as importantly, I hope that they serve as motivation to continue the learning and striving that occurred, into the many years ahead. After all, in the words of John Dewey, education is ‘not a preparation for future living’, but ‘a process of living’.


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

elearning at stpauls

YEAR 5 on the net

Above: Mr Chris Wyatt works with his class on Moodle; and below: Mrs Kerry McCaffery with (from left) Bronte Goldstein, Laura Hall, Paris Hansch and Patrick Degotardi

I have only scratched the surface of what the program can do. Typical of the way it has worked was a research assignment about State parliament prepared by Junior School Librarian Mrs Margo Pickworth. There was a controlled search of internet sites which had the answers. While this was done at school, most other tasks were carried out at home. Students wrote up their reports in a Word document and the work was marked on line

Patrick Degotardi, Bronte Goldstein, Laura Hall and Paris Hansch were four of the students participating. For Patrick, the best part was learning to use Powerpoint: My first Powerpoint was an individual one on earthquakes, the second was a group one in class on oil pollution and the third was a group during clubs which we did about ourselves. I enjoyed doing Moodle which I did at home. I liked the forums. Everybody should do this – it is good practice for what we’ll be doing later on at school. Bronte enjoys most using the internet: It is good being able to upload homework and not worrying about forgetting it and leaving it at school. I like the forums – the teacher gives the topic, we talk to others and hear their opinions.

What Laura enjoys most is being able to hand in her work on computer: I don’t have to print it off – and getting homework off the computer means I can’t lose it. I also like Powerpoint and webmail. It is good the way Mrs McCaffery puts in links to different websites in a library search, which makes it easy to find stuff. I think everyone from Year 4 up should do this computer program of work. Paris likes the Powerpoint program: You can make animations, which I did in my first Powerpoint presentation on bushfires. I learnt a lot through the two Powerpoints I did. They were fun. The four students agreed that it was sometimes better to do individual work and sometimes group work. It’s good working as a group at school, they said, because you could use the different gifts of different people to do a better job.


I set up a page with task sheets first. I was developing a journal which was a bit like blogging. We practised uploading tasks, an exercise that the children found interesting – they knew they were the first class to do this, an exciting thought for them. We are using the system to upload homework, to access resources, to put up a class calendar and to prepare a journal. The journal has been used a fair bit – topics and comments have been put up, and everyone can see these. At first the site was overused, but the students worked out by negotiation some ground rules – a forum about the use of forums.

or, if students wished, they could print it out and hand in a hard copy for marking. There were problems relating to homework – it was essential to have access to a computer, a problem for those without one; sometimes there was a problem uploading assignment tasks at home; and it would have been easier, but perhaps unrealistic, for each student to have access to a computer at school as well. But the advantages outweighed the problems – the children with technological skills loved it and others were encouraged by their enthusiasm; everyone learnt a lot more than by other methods; parents liked it because they could keep track of what their children were required to do; and I enjoyed exploring it as well.



FOR YEAR 5 TEACHER MRS Kerry McCaffery an in-house e-learning upskilling program after school in the second half of 2005 was another step towards introducing the internet and elearning into her class in a more exciting way. She introduced ‘Moodle’, a web-based intranet system where the class had its own website, early in Term 4:


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

Church links

A spectrum of churches

Left photo: Penrith CLC members of the school community (from left) Lachlan Pembroke, Danielle Julli, Remi Mahoney, Mrs Gail Julli and Justin Corbett; and right photo: Wilberforce Anglican Church members of the school community (from left) Rev. Sarah Plummer, Geoffrey Winters, Anastasia Plummer, Rebecca Bates and Mrs Liz Ranson

SOMETHING OF THE RANGE OF churches represented in the community of this non-denominational Christian school is indicated in the four churches profiled below largely through the eyes of St Paul’s staff members, parents and students who attend them.


Penrith Christian Life Centre (CLC) Mrs Gail Julli, receptionist in the High School student office, gives this picture of her experience at Penrith CLC: We as a family first went to CLC two years ago. The church has many plusses: it has a great youth group; it is a church with a common focus, where everyone works together; and there are plenty of opportunities to help. Two of my children are cell group leaders. The cell groups, the four-day youth conference, encounter weekends for cell groups, mission trips overseas and ‘Westcare for the Community’ that provides support for those in need are some of the highlights. We appreciate the way people show their love – and I value the way my children’s faith has grown in their time at the church.



Mrs Julli’s daughter Danielle and Remy Mahoney, both in Year 8, are in a cell group together: In our cell group we have Bible study, discussion around it and prayer. I [Danielle] enjoy it because I can get close to people and it is easier for me to understand than church services. Joseph Mahoney, Remy’s brother, is in Year 10 and is in a cell group of eight people from Year 8 to Year 12: I’m going to do a cell leader’s course this first semester and might become a leader. The cell group is a great place to meet and my spiritual life has been enhanced by it.

Lachlan Pembroke in Year 12 is leader of the cell to which Joseph belongs: I joined the church after attending a Christian rally called ‘Exoday’ at the Homebush tennis stadium a year ago. I became a Christian that night, and began a nine-month course on the Christian faith, where I received much help in sorting out my life. The cell group I now lead is mostly made up of people in the school. I am also involved in a range of jobs around the church including the audio engineering at Sunday church services. I hope next year to do mission outreach in Japan with our church mission team. Among the projects towards which 90% of our church finances go are this mission team and an orphanage in India. It is a fantastic church that provides you with support and space to be yourself. Justin Corbett in Year 12, a member of Lachlan’s cell group, went along to church two months after his father died: I wanted to find out what my father, a Christian, had. I was baptised a year and a half ago and have found church uplifting and supportive after a stressful week. St John’s Anglican Church, Wilberforce The church has three Sunday services catering for those wanting a traditional service (8.00am), a family service (9.30am) and a Café service (6.00pm). There is a range of Sunday and mid-week activities for different age groups, including Friday night High School, as well as growth groups for teenage Christians. Mrs Liz Ransom, who assists Mrs Holland, has been attending the church for five or six years: The Bible teaching is good; I feel welcome, particularly in the home group of five or six families my husband and I attend midweek; there is a good family atmosphere; and

there is a modern Sunday evening service which we like. I am involved in providing PC support and my husband leads singing. Young people have a youth group that caters for all ages, an early 20s Bible study and home groups participation. I like the way everyone pitches in and does their bit; it’s not a church of pew-warmers. Rebecca Bates of Year 12 has been in the church for seven years: I help run the K to 2 component of Kids’ Church on Sundays; I’m involved in the Friday night youth group; I’m in a growth group for Christians; and I help with the K to 6 children on camp. The church is like family to me; it is my main community. Geoffrey Winters, also in Year 12, has been at the church for eight years: I run the K to 2 component of Kids’ Church; I coordinate the music for the 100-200-strong youth service on Sundays; and I’m in the same home group as Mrs Ransom. I attend the church because I have close personal roots there; and I’ve made much more of a personal commitment to Christ. Anastasia Plummer in Year 1 has fun at church: I go to Kids’ Church on Sunday where we play games and sing songs – and after church I climb trees – and at other times I ride my scooter around the church. Padre Pio Catholic Parish, Glenmore Park Mr John Gately, who is Acting Head of the Technological and Applied Studies faculty at school, is the Chair of the Enabling Committee of the parish: I have been involved with the parish for four years. My job is to help establish the parish, develop a strategy for building a church and coordinate committees. I work closely with our priest Father Kevin Lee. Up to the time I took this position, I


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

Left photo: Father Kevin Lee of Padre Rio Catholic Parish Glenmore Park (in white) with school community parishioners (clockwise) Xavier Walsh, Amy Corry, Simon Walsh, Brianna Walsh, Mark Walsh, HarrisonWalsh & Jack Corry. Right photos: Glenbrook Baptist Church members of the school community (from left) Samantha Cooper. her mother Mrs Karen Beaton and Mr Chris Roberts

Amy and Emma Corry of Year 12 have been attending Sunday services for a few years: We find it a spiritually supportive notion that the values and rituals of the Catholic church have been largely unchanged over such a long period and that you can attend any Catholic church and find the mass to be the same as your home parish. We are particularly interested in the church’s social justice programs both in Australia and overseas. The highlights for us personally have been the sacramental programs for reconciliation, confirmation and first Holy Communion and I (Amy) enjoy being a

Glenbrook Baptist Church Mr Chris Roberts from the school’s Science faculty has been in the church for six years: I think the strength of the church is its passion for the community. It has been pivotal in organising a full-time chaplain for a local high school and there is a prison ministry at Emu Plains, the HopeStreet ministry in a needy area of Sydney, play groups that involve many from outside the church, support for a missionary in China, a mountain biking group, and a mission group that works alongside a church in Cobar. The church is helpful to me because the pastor is a wonderful non-judgemental man; it is a safe place for me and my children; the Bible is taught from a grace perspective; and the church is open to new things – if you have a gift, they’ll try and utilise it. There is follow-up of new members and those who are absent are visited. The church breathes back into the community and, in return, has earned enormous respect. Rev. Rob Lees, pastor of the church, sees the church reaching out to a lost world for Christ by wanting to be in the community and for the community: We want our youth groups to have an outward focus. The youth group on Saturday night is geared to high school

age and attracts outsiders, some of whom become Christians; the boys’ and girls’ brigades bring in children from the area; and there is a children’s program and a study for Years 7 to 9 on Sunday mornings. The women’s craft group and the playgroup for pre-schoolers have strong community support. There are 30 to 40 small groups that meet in people’s homes during the week, mostly in the area, but as far afield as Cranebrook and Springwood. There is also a theological course attached to the Baptist college run from Glenbrook. What I enjoy most is seeing people grow. I like to see change in people’s lives. Samantha Cooper of Year 9 has been at the church for two years: I have been attending Microscope, the group for my age during church on Sundays, and Oxygen, the youth group on Saturday nights where we get 100 to 200 people and where, while Christianity is not pushed, it is a safe place because there are no drugs or alcohol. Mum has been a pastor at the church, and I find that between Mum and the church, I get most of my spiritual needs met. Mum is being sent for a year by Glenbrook church to Darlinghurst as part of the HopeStreet mission, and I expect to spend some time there with Mum. Mrs Karen Beaton, Samantha’s mother, says: I was commissioned for the new work in January and will continue in my Glenbrook Bible study group to which I am accountable.


Brianna Walsh of Year 10 has been attending the church with her family for four years: I particularly enjoy catching up with my friends after church on Sunday. I and my family also attend the non-denominational Servants of Jesus at Seven Hills and a get a great deal of help from the leaders there. I am keen on the idea of our Glenmore Park parish having a youth group and their own church building – it will give us and the church a clear identity.

teacher at children’s Sunday liturgy. We also attend Penrith CLC youth group on Friday nights – it is very much in touch with our age group, it makes our faith stronger and gives us courage to tell others about our faith. 2005 saw our Catholic community become the Parish of Padre Pio and we hope that one day our church will have its own youth group but for now final planning is underway to start building our church.

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had been involved in a number of parishes in church sporting bodies – I saw my mission as a Christian to focus on children’s work. I now see it as an expression of my faith to work as a church administrator. The focus of the parish is to see what it can do for the Glenmore Park community. I’m particularly interested in seeing the church in future fostering youth ministry. We now are looking forward to the building of a church for the Padre Pio Parish. This should happen soon because the Bishop has approved the plans. We now wait for approval of Penrith Council. This is an exciting time for our parish and the families in our community.


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

Year 11 IB geography

Sun, sand & Surf: A gold coast field trip

The 2005 Year 11 IB Geography students assembled at Point Byron


ON FIVE DAYS IN OCTOBER 2005, 17 Year 11 IB Geography students and two teachers, Mr Geoff Newton and Mrs Marie McGuinness, traversed the beaches from Duranbah Beach on the Tweed River to Surfers Paradise to collect data on longshore drift and beach management. Yes, it was fun to work in such a place – and helped complete the mandated fieldwork requirement for the internal course work. Here, three students, Marie Deroussent, Lauren Sayer and Ben Rashleigh, outline the highs and lows of the surf and of their work:



After our arrival on the Monday by plane at Coolangatta airport, we began with a two-hour talk on longshore drift and beach management by Sally Robinson of the education unit at Griffith University. This was specific to the Gold Coast and gave us a good idea of what to look for. We headed straight into our data collection on a sample of 15 beaches.

Much later that afternoon, we settled into our apartments on Kirra Beach, and did some grocery shopping and some cooking.

of a storm on Tuesday night, there had been a lot of activity on the beaches. That night, we went out for dinner.

To ascertain the coastal processes at work, many different sets of data were collected. This included photographs, sketches, various measurements and interviews. For example, to test for longshore drift, Ben would throw oranges into the shallow water on a 20 metre stretch of sand and see how long they took to cover the 20 metres; Marie measured the width and inclination of the middle of the beach; and Lauren did the same for the southern end.

On Thursday, apart from collecting data, we looked at various rural settlements and the processes involved in their growth. The environmental effects of the extensive estates near Kingscliff and the industrial area on the Tweed River were considered.

On Tuesday, we took a break in order to allow the beaches a day to change. We climbed Mt Warning, a dormant volcano with the largest caldera in the southern hemisphere. Interlocking spurs, the source of the Tweed River and the fertile fluvial plain where sugar cane was grown below the mountain were some features we explored during this four and a half hour excursion. We also had a swim at Kirra Beach. On Wednesday we went through the same process as Monday – on the same beaches at the same time of day. Because

On Friday, similar work was done to that on Wednesday and Monday – in pouring rain. Needless to say, there were less people on the beaches. After a visit to the Pacific Fair shopping centre, we caught the plane home. Our findings, once finalised, are to be written up as a 2,500 word internal assessment worth 25% of our final mark. What did we get out of the exercise? It gave depth to my understanding of coastal processes (Ben) and generally gave more solid input to the geography course (Lauren).


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

ib creative arts

There is a mind at work here

Nathan Collins-Eastwood, speaking of his paintings, is framed in a backdrop of one of them

Theatre Arts major work For this, I decided to do a set design for the French play ‘Who will carry the world?’ by Charlotte Delbo. It focuses on the attempt

Visual Arts major works During 2005 I delivered 24 works to the school, including paintings on canvas and computer-generated works. Three of my four major works depict ‘Old Glory’, the US flag, and depict stencilled names on the flag of the coalition of the willing, countries allied to the US in the war in Iraq. It wasn’t

hard to reproduce a flag. Once I had that image, I could use it to reproduce my ideas in an ordered way. The flags explore such ideas as labelling, individuality, peace, war, ownership and self-destruction. My work reflects that of 1960s artist Jasper Johns, known for his pop-art renditions of the American flag. Each flag shows something of my growth as an artist. The exercise helped my growth through the use of various media and the application of colour and collage in a way that transformed the work into a questioning and ambiguous piece. The final Visual Arts examination takes the form of an interview on the artist’s work. For me, it took the form of a heated argument over Johns’ work. I didn’t imagine for a moment the result that was to come from such an interview – an award of 100% for my major works! Objective What I seek to do in my work is to bring an awareness of reality to people. I want the viewer to become active and to make a response to the work, irrespective of whether that response be negative or positive. In my works I often offer an interpretation of the historic elements shaping today’s society and the influence this has had on today’s youth.


I have developed a keen interest in politics and in staying up with current affairs. My problem was how could I depict this artistically? Furthermore, I had little experience – I had not done Visual Arts before Year 11. A defining point in this process was going on a student exchange to Ecole de Language, a school run through the University of Paris, at the beginning of 2005. On the way, I went to the USA and Canada. There were some big issues around, including the question of Jewish tombstones and the Holocaust, and I began thinking much more about global issues. I was also aware that I had to come up with creative arts projects in both subjects. I saw a lot of art, particularly in Le Pompidou, the national modern art gallery in Paris.

by 22 women in a Nazi concentration camp to resist the temptation to commit suicide, their focus instead being on living for the others in the camp. It was thought that if one commits suicide, those others will need to ‘make up’ the time and stay in detention longer, a strong incentive for staying alive. I have studied post-war abstraction in art, and this also contributed to my interest in the Holocaust which I see as being forgotten except by the Jewish community. I wanted to do set design, and the vogue for such plays was minimalist to the point of having no sets. I therefore had no models for what I did, and sought to blend minimalism into what I do. I tried to tread the fine line between overwhelming the audience and so distracting them from the play, and creating a set without meaning that produces no emotion. I have learnt a lot more about theatre and the application of sight, colours, symbols and meanings than I could ever have anticipated.

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THERE IS MORE TO THEATRE Arts and Visual Arts than might meet the eye. In the case of Nathan CollinsEastwood, his major works in these two International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma subjects were informed by the development in his thinking over an extended period:


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

maths tournament


team success in the big smoke

Two of the Big Smoke victors, Daniel Schroot and Joshua Walter, with maths teacher Mrs Goderie


‘COUNTING IN THE BIG SMOKE’ was the title of the 20-school-strong Maths tournament held in early November 2005 at the International Grammar School in Ultimo in Sydney. The St Paul’s team, Joshua Walter and Daniel Schroot of Year 7 and Alexander Yang and Cameron Silvestrini of Year 8, accompanied by Maths teacher Ms Louise Goderie, came out on top in a tightly fought contest. Ms Goderie has provided this outline of the stages in the contest:



First, about 25 extremely difficult problems were given to each school, requiring the four contestants to work together to find a solution. Second, students were given 10 seconds each to respond to a set of difficult number patterns. The third stage was mathematical relays, requiring alternate correct responses from the Year 7 and Year 8 groupings. Intermittent fun questions relieved the pressure for the participants. The boys indicated how they became involved and how they were prepared for the tournament: Our Maths teachers suggested we participate. We had no specific training,

but some of us had done Maths Olympiad for a couple of years. The problem-solving we had done in extension Maths also helped prepare us. Ms Goderie said all was not plain sailing on the morning of the tournament: Transport was chaotic and our train didn’t really get us there in time. Once in there, there was some confusion – scrap working paper was given to some and not others. But we had prayed together about it and felt that God was with us, so were reasonably calm. Joshua enjoyed the experience: When I entered the hall where the tournament took place I somehow felt free and relaxed. I liked working through the first stage with the group. While I like working by myself, it is helpful having other perspectives. The fun sessions were enjoyable because we were working with people we didn’t know and that made things unpredictable and interesting. The second stage required finding the rule behind number patterns; my way of working it out was strange, but I usually got to the right answer.

Why were they successful? The boys all agreed: We worked well as a team and did consistently well rather than brilliantly in any one section. Ms Goderie said: The boys cooperated with each other well. They were very good with each other. We did not expect to win; we thought it would just be a warm-up. The boys had considerable ability and they were hungry to win, but it was still a surprise. We were all on a high walking back to the station – and I was on a high for days – when I arrived back at school, there was no-one left in the staff room to tell! And the future? We’d love to do this or something similar again. It was challenging and fun. Ms Goderie is looking ahead: I hope we can be a host school some time in the future. And I’d like to do specific training for future tournaments – I have every reason to believe we can repeat this success.


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

infants sport

Fun, Fitness & foundation skills

Mrs Taryna Wawn (left) and students (from left) Arianna Levy, Gabrielle Casha, Jack McNamara and Jack Donnelly with (right) Mrs Jenny Mahoney

Gabriella also likes swimming: I have been learning for four years and I like the strokes – freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly. But my favourite is dancing which

Jack McNamara has been swimming since he was two: I like all strokes, but freestyle is the best because I can go fast. I also like all gymnastics; I like the warm-up exercises the best. I also like AFL and I can hardly wait to start playing it at school. (Gymnastics takes place in sport time in The Centre at school and Jack will be able to join a school AFL team in Year 3, Mrs Wawn said.) Jack Donnelly likes all sports, but most of all soccer: I have been playing since I was four. I play it at lunchtime and have scored about 50 goals this year! I also play cricket and rugby league with my friends. I like all sports. I’d like to play AFL and grass hockey in the future. (The school offers modified soccer in Year 2 and modified Kanga cricket in Year 3, Mrs Wawn said.)

Mrs Mahoney and Mrs Wawn said that, apart from the PE classes which provide 15 minute fitness sessions most days and much longer sessions that include games, modified dance skills, and gymnastics and swimming with qualified instructors, the Infants students in the two-period Friday sport program are being prepared for Primary school volleyball, basketball, T-ball, soccer, Kanga cricket and tennis. They are also being prepared for selection for the Public Schools Sports Association (PSSA) representative sport in Kanga cricket, cricket, T-ball, soccer, Minky, netball and AFL. The aims in Infants sport are to keep students happy, encourage them to enjoy an active lifestyle, encourage participation and begin to develop skills needed in playing the modified Primary sports. As a Christian school, St Paul’s sees it as important to awaken in children not only their God-given potential in academic, spiritual and artistic areas, but also in the physical fitness area – and encourage them to develop these gifts.


Swimming is one of my favourites. I have been swimming since I was a baby. I like being good at swimming. (The school swimming program includes graded swimming group lessons – Arianna would be in an advanced group, Mrs Wawn said.) I also like novelty relays that we have during our sport time on the new school playground. I like sport because there are lots of fun activities.

I have been doing for three years. I like different types of dancing. Dancing is fun – I like performing in front of people and I like moving to music. (Warm-up and movement in Physical Education classes and folk dancing in sport are parts of the school physical exercise program, Mrs Wawn said.)

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ONE WARM FEBRUARY 2006 school lunchtime, when any sport-lover would be kicking a ball in the sun, or swimming, four Year 2 sport enthusiasts – Arianna Levy, Gabrielle Casha, Jack McNamara and Jack Donnelly – sat in a classroom talking about school sport, along with Junior School sport coordinator Mrs Taryna Wawn and Infants curriculum coordinator Mrs Jenny Mahoney. Not surprisingly, swimming was high on their list of best sports! Arianna said:


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

IB Design project 


Designing to solve problems

Haley Estreich, a Year 12 IB Design Technology student, reclines on her design project; a seat that doubles as a room divider

THE IB DESIGN TECHNOLOGY course offers students many attractions which are well represented in the Design Project, an essential part of the course, according to Mr John Gately, Acting Head of Technology and Applied Studies (TAS):


A growing number of students are doing this course. It appeals to those who have an interest in the practical, who wish to use science, who wish to create things, and who want an answer to the ‘why’ question. It demonstrates that design is not a narrow subject, but requires the use of logic and the abstract across the whole area of the everyday. Students are encouraged to develop their own identities within their own design activity and to work in a wide range of materials. Students have been doing surprisingly well, which I put down to their tenacity.



The design project, worth 36% of the total assessment, starts in the middle of Term 4 of Year 11 and is completed in the middle of Term 1 of Year 12 and, for Higher Level students, is expected to take 31 hours. Along with making a model of the designed object, a log book needs to be kept that provides a record of the student’s thoughts and actions throughout the development period, and a project summary report which identifies the stages of the project development and is the marked component of the exercise. Declan Price of the class of 2005 designed an extension cord holder: I was aware that

often when extension cords are tugged, they come apart. Although what I developed was simple, it took a fair bit of designing. The main problem was how to make it stay together without damaging the cord. I was happy with what I did in the time, but with more time I could have done better. For my model, I had to use sheet metal because that was all that was available, but it would be safer with plastic which I could not get hold of. Writing up the project summary report was useful because it enabled me to analyse the process and work out ways to improve it. My advice to others doing the project is to think out ideas and start writing as early as possible so that there is time to redesign and re-evaluate. Michael Williams, also of last year’s class, designed a securing device for bread similar to the plastic clips that are used at present: I chose it because the present plastic clips are sometimes swallowed, particularly by children, so I designed one with rounded edges to avoid cutting, and made of a starchbased product that wouldn’t stay in the system, that was easy to produce and was cost-efficient. I researched it on the internet and made my model of cardboard. I was happy with the results because the product would work efficiently and effectively. My project summary was about 30 pages long (some others are up to 100 pages long) and I received help from my teachers and from the manufacturer of potato starch products. It was a great experience in researching, in the use of materials, and in production processes. It also helped me to think creatively, to step

back and do things differently. Emma Webster of the 2006 Year 12 class has been making a magnetic jigsaw: When my grandmother told me how her mother had had difficulty picking up jigsaw pieces, it gave me this idea. I thought it could help those with learning difficulties and elderly people. I think that a jigsaw puzzle can be useful educationally and therapeutically. It also provides people with a sense of accomplishment. I went to three nursing homes as part of my research. Peter Ringwood, also of the 2006 Year 12 class, has been designing a bag for snowboarding: I was living in Switzerland until June last year where I developed a love of the snow. When I went snowboarding from Geneva, I could not get a light, easy-to-carry backpack that didn’t get crushed, so I have decided to design one. I have received a lot of help from the internet, from Mr Gately who has a lot of materials expertise and I from my Swiss friends. After three years in Geneva attending an IB school, I was determined to find one here to attend, even though it has meant travelling each day from Castle Hill. And, as I am so interested in photography, art and technology, I have landed on my feet in this class.


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

The ib School gardens chemistry essay

testing the limits of human knowledge

Claire Willard researching in the Environmental Protection Authority Laboratories: at left, using the spectrophotometer; and at right, preparing her experiments

I talked to Mrs Glenda Clapin, Head of Science, halfway through 2004 about my general area of interest. She said I would need specialised assistance and put me in touch with Associate Professor Tony Masters at Sydney University. He suggested I do something with catalysis and that I do some research at the university – I had already found that researching alone on the internet was beyond me. In preparation for university laboratory research, I read some PhD papers, which were very hard going, and talked to a member of the university’s inorganic chemistry staff. In a three-

Claire chose the subject: ‘An investigation of mercury levels found in fish brain and muscle, using cold vapour atomic absorption spectrophotometry’: In Term 2, 2004, I was still trying to decide whether to do my extended essay in History or Chemistry when Mrs Clapin suggested looking at mercury levels in fish. As I eat a lot of fish, I thought it would be interesting and worthwhile to find out whether mercury was an issue in five fish species that I often eat. My supervisor was Mrs Clapin and I was co-supervised by Dr John Tomkins, and Mrs Glenis Shaddick was invaluable in helping set up the lab work I did at school. Mrs Clapin put me in contact with Mr Charles Pierce, Senior Chemist at the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), who was very helpful. The EPA suggested a suitable method for preparing the samples for analysis, as well as providing a mercury

solution for spiking, and the use of their spectrophotometer. The whole exercise took over a year, involving a great deal of reading and research, preparation and testing of three sample batches, and writing of the essay itself. Bearing in mind that there were uncertainties and significant inconsistencies in results, the tentative conclusion was that mercury levels in the five types of fish were negligible, even in swordfish, at the top of the food chain. There were a number of complications and blind alleys – the first approach had to be discarded completely – and each time I had to work back through the chemistry to find the problem. But as I had started early I knew I had time, and I could draw on my supervisors and contacts at the EPA to help me sort things out. I learnt a lot about chemistry and experimentation, about working independently and forming my own judgements, and I had a glimpse of the working environment of a research laboratory. For me, starting early and professional collaboration were so important to success in this segment of my IB Diploma.


I chose this subject because I wanted to do something involving colours. I aimed to find more effective catalysts for creating adipic acid, used in manufacturing nylon and included in the production of some foods.

week period of laboratory research at the university, I experimented with the formation of crystals, experimentation which failed to find a new catalyst, after which I wrote up my report. Although my experimentation was unsuccessful, the process of working through the research had taught me an enormous amount about chemistry and experimentation.

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THE I N T E R N AT I O N A L Baccalaureate (IB) extended essay has a way of taking researchers to the very edge of humanity’s knowledge of the universe. Something like this happened to Lakshmi Baratha Raj and Claire Willard in exercises that took them well beyond their previous Chemistry knowledge. Lakshmi chose as her subject: ‘Cobalt complexes and their catalytic use for turning cyclohexane into cyclohexanol and cyclohexanone’:


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

St Paul’s ex-students News

Left photo: Lakshmi Baratha Raj and James Gribble just before leaving for Mali; and right photo: James Gribble teaching in traditional garb

Michael Dennis (2004) has received a UWS Vice-Chancellor’s academic scholarship for Arts/Communication/Social Science/Law and Holly Harrison (2005) has received a UWS Vice-Chancellor’s academic scholarship for Music. Chris Smith (2001) completed his Bachelor of Medical Science degree from Sydney University, practised for a year as a radiographer and is now on the staff of Glenmore Park Anglican Church as a Ministry Training Scheme worker.


Rosemary Cooper (2001) completed a Bachelor of Psychology degree from Macquarie University with First Class Honours in 2005. She is now taking time out from study to do some volunteer work in the Blue Mountains before commencing a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of New South Wales.



James Gribble (2005) arrived back in Australia in late March after working for three months with an NGO in Mali. James has been teaching English in the city of Segou, classes averaging 60 students and being as many as 90: ‘I experienced first hand the stark contrast between a developed and developing country. . . It also reminded me of the responsibility we have as privileged people to help those who live in poverty.’ Five and a half hours’ bus ride away, Lakshmi Baratha Raj (2005) has

also been teaching and is about to start writing articles on the NGO’s work in Mali as a way of raising awareness and financial support for the work. Lakshmi writes: ‘Mali is a place where everyone becomes family – even if you can’t understand the local French mixed with some African, you smile and laugh. The children come up and hold your hands. I’m staying with an interesting family where the husband is Christian and the wife Muslim.’ Sam Jackson (1996) has just submitted a PhD thesis at Sydney University in Ancient Near Eastern History, specialising in Sumerian and Akkadian Law from Mesopotamia. He is now teaching History at Shore School. Vincent Willard (1998) commenced a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer) at UWS and was one of two St Paul’s scholarship winners (the other was Georgia Boyce) out of a total of four in 1999. In 2002 he graduated with First Class Honours and the University Medal, and began working part-time and in 2003 full time with a speech technology company Appen Pty Ltd, which he left to travel in mid 2005 and is now back, applying for positions. Phoebe Burgess (2000) has graduated in Law from Sydney University and is now working as a solicitor with a major Sydney law firm.

Scott Goode (1995) owns his own business doing First Aid training. Scott is married to Natalie and they have three children. He has been accepted to train at Moore Theological College for the Anglican ministry. Lachlan and Emma Whale (both 1995) have been married for nearly seven years and have two boys. Lachlan is a marketing executive and Emma is a journalist. Michelle Blicavs (nee Gilbey) (1987) has moved to Wollongong with her husband and four-year-old daughter and two-yearold son so that her husband can take up the position of Business Manager with Lighthouse Church. Michelle and her family are enjoying their ‘sea change’. Louise King (2004) is doing the BVetSc course at Sydney University in 2006 that she failed to get into in 2005. Her UAI of 98.3 excluded her from a 98.45 cutoff in 2005, so she spent the year working in a saddlery shop near her home at Kurmond, waiting for the results of her September 2005 application to do the same course. On the second round this year, the cutoff came down to 98.3, giving her a place. She was ecstatic. She is doing the four-hour travelling stint each day from Kurmond to Richmond by car, Richmond to Central by train and Central to university on foot. Her days are packed, but the travelling enables her to look after her horse and attend her gym at home.


St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith

Former students (from left) Katherine Clay, Vincent Willard and Holly Harrison (with Professor Janice Reid on the occasion of her presentation with a scholarship)

Katherine Clay (Dux 2001) has been doing a double degree in Media Arts & Production and International Studies (French) from UTS, and has completed a fourth year of her UTS study at the University of Poitieres, France. Her major research project for International Studies was a graphic novel entitled ‘From Penrith to Paris’, based on her experiences in her first semester in France, and for which she has been awarded a high distinction. Where to now? ‘I would love to continue travelling. . . and become fluent in an Asian language, hopefully Japanese. This would aid me in my academic studies of comic books and mangas.’ A graduate

Katherine Moss (2002) is working for 12 months as an international volunteer at Agape Orphanage Thailand, where the children range from a few weeks old to 14 and where all those over five are HIV positive: ‘I look after the toddlers group, which has about 20, half of whom are HIV positive. Agape is great at giving the children lots of love. There’s definitely no shortage of kisses and smiling and laughter. Pray for all the children at Agape!’

Getting together. . .

The Class of 1995 Ten Year Reunion was held at St Paul’s Grammar on Saturday November 5th 2005. Around 20 former students caught up, enjoying a BBQ dinner in the foyer of The Centre and reminiscing while taken on a guided tour of the school. The Class of 2000 Five Year Reunion was held in Parramatta in January 2006 and a great night was had by around 40 former students who were able to catch up with old school friends. This year, reunions will be held for graduates from 1996 and 2001.

Keeping in touch with the school. . .

Revelations, the weekly school newsletter, is a great way to keep in touch with what is happening at school. SPEXS (St Paul’s Ex-student Association) is a way of keeping in touch with your former classmates. Do you want to know more about SPEXS? Do you want to join? If you would like to know more about SPEXS, or Revelations, or if you have information we could publish in FUTURUM about what you are doing, or if you are interested in organising ten year or five year reunions, please contact Angela Jovanovski(pictured left) on or phone (02) 4777 4888.


Kristin Van Zwieten (Dux 1999), following being first in the State in 2 Unit HSC Legal Studies in 1999, received the university medal in law from the University of New South Wales for her achievements last year. She is working this year as a graduate lawyer at Minters, and has just been informed that she has an associateship to work for Justice Austin of the Equity Division of the NSW Supreme Court in 2007.

position in a Department of Arts or a job in the film industry are possible avenues of employment. ‘I leave it up to God to figure out where I’m meant to be!’

19 futurum

Daniel Gunasekara (2005) is spending this year as a GAP student at The York School, St Paul’s sister school in Toronto Canada, assisting teachers in the classroom and living with a school family in the centre of Toronto, a city he sees as vibrant and multicultural like Sydney. He says, ‘It has been a valuable experience’ which has ‘allowed me to challenge myself personally every day’.

S t P aul ’ s futurum GRAMMAR SCHOOL

St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith penrith, australia

No. 39 Autumn 2006

international students year 12 sailing camp

A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EXPERIENCE NICOLE BLISS AND LUKE Taylor were two of the 22 Year 12 students, two teachers and six crew that travelled from Darling Harbour in Sydney to Broken Bay and to Botany Bay and then back to Darling Harbour on the training schooner The South Passage for three days from the 21st January 2006. Why did they go? I wanted a new challenge and a new experience – and I knew the chance to do such a thing would not come around often (Nicole). I saw it as an experience I couldn’t get elsewhere. It was a good opportunity to learn new skills. I already knew a little about sailing, but now I know a lot (Luke). Nicole gives this overview: We spent our first night at Broken Bay. It took several hours to get there, but with the sense of adventure and good company, we were there in no time. The crew on The South Passage were lovely and friendly and had a great sense of humour. We all had group watches to perform. Each watch consisted of eight to ten students and a teacher, and lasted for four hours. We were responsible for keeping an eye out for other boats, steering, looking after the sails and cleaning up. The groups were rostered on

any time of the day or night for their watch. If not on watch at night, we played cards, sang songs and talked. Lights went out at 9.30pm and we all went to sleep quickly as we were quite tired. The second day we sailed down to Botany Bay and spent the day relaxing on the deck or swimming or snorkelling. While sailing there, we were lucky enough to see dolphins. What an incredible experience! There were challenges: Getting up at 4.00am to do night watch was hard but necessary – we had to keep constant watch that we weren’t dragging the anchor in order to avoid possible disaster (Luke). It was challenging at times learning to trust each other enough to work as a team (Nicole). They felt they learnt a lot about themselves: It gave me an opportunity to do some thinking; it was peaceful; and I gained the confidence that I could do so much (Nicole). I had no faith in myself before; but at the end I felt so much more skilled. On the last day we were dragging anchor, but at that stage when we had to do so much we were amazingly proficient – and we were by then working well as a team (Luke).

But there were problems, including seasickness, frustration when something couldn’t be done and the difficulty of absorbing the sheer content for both Luke and Nicole: Strangely, I had no seasickness on the high seas; mine came with the gentle rocking in the shelter of Broken Bay (Luke). They saw a strong connection between their three days of sailing and school: We learnt to work as a team; the experience helped to develop our communication skills; and we learnt responsibility – whether sick or not, we had to bear the full weight of our duties: all of this stood us in good stead for school (Luke). For Nicole, it was a peerless experience: 98% of Australians will never get this chance. To sail on a schooner for three days with people who work as a team! I would recommend such a trip to everyone. I will remember it for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to my parents for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

‘Home is the sailor, home from the sea’

This edition of FUTURUM has been prepared by Ken Goodlet & Daniel Weatherhead for St Paul’s Grammar School Penrith.

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+61-(0)2-4777 4888 +61-(0)2-4777 4841

Futurum Autumn 2006  

The Autumn edition of Futurum for 2006 includes articles on the Year 12 resuts for 2005, the opening of the Arts Quarter and hosting of the...