Volume 29 Issue 12

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

This week the College received the NAPLAN results for our current Year 7 and Year 9 students. We will have the letter out to families later in the week, so you should get your letters next week. As the exam is held in May, the Year 7 results are a better reflection of the achievements of the girls in primary school. The Year 9 results reflect the growth or learning gain of the girls whilst they have been at St Patrick’s College. We are delighted with the results of the girls. We are particularly delighted with the growth shown in the Year 9 girls. The College has had a targeted approach to Numeracy and Literacy over the years and this is now clearly having a very positive effect.

We are also thrilled with the number of Year 9 girls who have achieved the minimum benchmark of Band 8 for the HSC in one or more of the exams. Our results show that 63% of the girls received a Band 8 or above in Reading, 80% achieved a Band 8 or above in Writing and 58% achieved a Band 8 or above in Numeracy. These are well above the state average. The statistics also showed that 77% of Year 9 girls achieved expected or above their expected growth in Reading and 65% achieved above or at expected growth in Numeracy. In addition to this, a significant number of the girls who did not achieve Band 8 actually achieved Band 7, which will invariably grow by the time they wish to begin the HSC in a few years. We will be in touch with those girls and families who did not receive a Band 8 and outline the further opportunities to meet the standard. If you have any questions concerning your daughter’s results, please feel free to contact Mrs McGeachie (Assistant Principal – Learning and Teaching) or Mrs Eileen Kelly (Learning Enhancement Coordinator) at the College.

Whilst we have just received this year’s NAPLAN results, we are also preparing for next year’s exam as well. Next year, the exam will be online and as such we are testing our readiness for this next week. The girls in Years 7 and 9 will be completing a mock test to see how our system will cope with almost 300 students accessing the NAPLAN website and at the same time  accessing our wireless system. There will be no results and the test is a trial  but this will be crucial in alerting all involved on what would need to be corrected so that when we do this next year, it will be a smooth operation.

Last week, I had the pleasure of working with the Student Leadership team and Ms Stephanie Dunn as they discerned who would hold the various leadership positions at the College for 2017 – 2018. It is always such a pleasure to work with these girls as they express their passion for the College and their desire to ensure the best for others. The list of the girls and their positions are held in this edition. I congratulate them for being recognised within their cohort as leaders and I wish them well as they embark on their journey of leadership  for the next 12 months. We will hold a ceremony to induct them in the following weeks.

In 2017, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan celebrate 160 years.  They began in 1857, when five sisters commenced their formation as Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Sydney. They were called to provide direct assistance to the needy, focusing on caring for destitute women and children. The Good Sams understood the importance of education and established schools and orphanages across Australia. At their height, there were over 100 Good Samaritan schools across Australia. In 1948, they were called to Japan to help the victims of the Nagasaki bombing. The women who left for Japan, left knowing they would not return. The sisters later established clinics in Kiribati, the Philippines and Timor Leste. Today, there are close to 230 Good Samaritan sisters in Australia, Japan, Philippines and Kiribati. In September, the sisters will gather together in Chapter to choose their new congregational leader. Sr Clare Condon has held the position for the past 12 years and will leave a legacy that we in Good Sam schools will be forever grateful for. I ask that you keep the sisters in your prayers as they prepare for this new chapter in their lives. If you are interested in getting to know what the sisters are now involved in, you can subscribe to the newsletter ‘The Good Oil’, which can be found on the Good Samaritan Sisters website http://www.goodsams.org.au/.

The College has established two new awards. One is for any student who represents the state in an activity. This is the Waratah Award. The second award is the Green and Gold Award which is for representation on a national team. The criteria for both awards are included in this edition and can be found on the website. The awards will be issued at the end of year award ceremony. The College isn’t always aware of the levels of participation of the girls in events and competitions outside of the school, so we are encouraging you to let us know of any who would be eligible for either of these awards. Each nomination will go before a panel to ensure it meets the criteria and then the award will be given at the end of the year.

Finally, as we continue to hear about the racial tensions and violence in Charlottesville, USA, I will leave you with a short reflection by Margaret J Wheatley.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Volume 29 Issue 11

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Welcome back to Term 3. We are very mindful of the Year 12 girls as they sit for their Trials at the moment. They have studied and prepared and we all hope that they are able to reap the rewards of their hard earned efforts during this exam block.

I warmly welcome back Mrs Thomas from maternity leave. It is wonderful to have her back with us. Sadly we had to farewell Mrs Breeze at the end of the term. We wish her the very best in her new role. Sadly, we will also farewell Mrs Stalker-Booth at the end of the week. Mrs Stalker-Booth has been the College Librarian for the past five years and has made a wonderful contribution. We wish her the very best in her new position in Canberra. We welcome Mr McGrath, as the new PDHPE teacher whilst Mrs Caffrey is on maternity leave.

The term has started with great energy with a number of teams representing the College in a number of fields and achieving commendable success. There is more of their achievements in the body of this edition. The girls appear to be well rested and ready for a good term ahead.

The College is a member of the Alliance of Girls Schools. Each month it produces newsletters with the most current research on issues about children, young people and education. In the July edition, it noted a radical research project completed in Iceland which found that increasing young people’s involvement with sport and time with their parents has drastically curbed substance abuse by teenagers. The research is available on the website www.agsa.org.au for your consideration. It emerged that there are four factors strongly protective against substance abuse: participation in organised activities (especially sport) three or four times a week, total time spent with parents during the week, feeling cared about at school and not being outdoors late at night. This ground breaking research was then backed by the government so that programs were put in place to engage young people and parent organisations assisted parents to spend quantity time rather than the occasional quality time with their children. It has made a significant difference on the lives of the children and the families in Iceland. I encourage you to read it and reflect on the findings.

This week, we hosted the Middle School Parent Forum. Thank you to those parents who attended. Thank you also to our psychologist Mrs Sophie Christodoulides who presented on mental wellbeing and health. It was very informative and all middle school parents will receive the PowerPoint. My thanks also to Mrs Wright for attending both sessions. Next week we will hold the Senior School Parent Forum. The focus this time will be on careers. Mr Damien Williams will present to the parents an outline of the changing world of careers and what the College is doing to support and prepare the girls. I thank him and Mrs McGeachie in advance for their attendance at the meetings. I do hope you will be able to attend.

No doubt you will have heard on the news reports on this year’s NAPLAN results. We are yet to receive these results to be able to comment on the results for St Patrick’s College. I would like to reassure parents that this is the first point of entry to achieving a HSC. Girls who do not achieve the benchmark in Year 9 will have ample opportunity to achieve this before they finish their HSC in three years time. We will have further to say about this at the Year 8 subject preferences information evening for parents on 16 August. For parents of Year 9, we will communicate further once the results have come through.

We are currently interviewing all the Year 10 girls  for their subject preferences. If you have any questions, concerning your daughter’s preferences, please don’t hesitate to call the College for clarification.

This Sunday we celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus. The following is an extract taken from a commentary written by Br Julian McDonald cfc AO

“While his transfiguration on the mountaintop was intended for his disciples and for us to be a reminder not to lose hope, no matter how bleak life may become, Jesus made it clear that lasting transfiguration would come for us and our world through his cross and ultimate resurrection.  In laying aside privilege and special treatment, he reminds us to do the same for the sake of others and the good of our world.  In today’s gospel story, that message is reinforced by the voice of God: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

Let’s not forget that there are many other transfiguration moments in our lives as we respond to Jesus’ invitation to reach out to others in love:  “To love another person is to see the face of God.”  (Victor Hugo, Les Miserables)” 

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Volume 29 Issue 10

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

When you next visit the College you will see the fencing up again as we prepare for the second stage of the building project. We will be refurbishing the old classrooms above the chapel and new integration rooms. Many parents who are ex-students in our community would recall these as rooms 1, 2, 3 and 3A. We will update these rooms and include operable doors so that they can be opened up to hold the HSC examinations in the future. Having this exam space will free up the Mary Sheil Centre for the rest of the College during the HSC period.

The building begins in earnest during the holidays and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The finishes and details will be in line with the work downstairs, so that the old but solid building, which has served the College well over the years, will meet the changing needs of education in the 21st century. We are very appreciative of the College Board in supporting this project and the patience of the students and staff as we manage the building program during the term.

On Monday 26 June we hosted the NAIDOC assembly, which celebrated the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at the College. It was good to see the girls dance so respectfully and professionally on the stage. The choir from John Therry Catholic High School performed a song and the audience were led in singing the National Anthem in language. I would like to acknowledge the many Elders who were able to attend and the work of the girls under the direction of Mrs Tanginoa. The nation will celebrate NAIDOC Week in the first week of the holidays and I urge you to participate in some of the activities that each Council will have organised.

Last week we had three teams participate in the quarter finals of the Catholic schools debating competition. All the teams did exceptionally well to get to this level. Fortunately two of our teams will progress to the semi-finals. We wish the Year 9 and Year 11 teams the very best on Friday 21 July.

If you have not already received your daughter’s report, it should be with you in the next day or so. This is feedback on her first semester’s work. I encourage you to take the time to go through this with her. Look for the good aspects and give affirmation. Discuss the areas for future development and explore the necessary actions. Please contact the College via email if you would like to discuss the report with staff. We will be happy to get back to you after the break.

As we come to the end of the semester, we say farewell to Mrs McMahon who has been with us whilst Mrs Thomas was on maternity leave. We wish her the very best and thank her for her work over the last 12 months. Through the term we also farewelled Mrs O’Brien and Mr Hudson. Mrs O’Brien had been with the College for 11 years as a Teacher’s Aide and we wish her the very best in retirement. Mr Hudson was our IT Network Manager for several years. We are very appreciative of the work Mr Hudson did in establishing the College’s IT network so that we are now in a much stronger place. We welcomed Mr Gargoura as the new IT Network Manager at the College. I am sure he will be a great addition to the IT team.

We also wish Mrs Caffrey the very best as she begins her leave awaiting the birth of her second child. We hope she has a wonderful maternity leave. In Mrs Caffrey’s absence, Mrs Arena will be the acting PDHPE Coordinator until July 2018. Thank you to Mrs Arena for taking up this responsibility.

The girls now have three weeks break from the College. They will return on Monday 24 July. Staff will return for the professional development week on Monday 17 July. The College office will be open from 10 July.

As we finish for the term, please keep in your prayers and thoughts Mrs Power who will be on the Good Samaritan Education immersion to the Kinder School in the Philippines, the three Year 10 girls who will go to an immersion in an Aboriginal community in Santa Teresa near Alice Springs, and the five Year 11 girls who will be on Ministry Outreach with Mr Gattone at St Scholastica’s College in Glebe. All these people from our community will be away from their homes experiencing some form of disadvantage and discomfort during this holiday period. We pray that the gift they give to these communities of their love, presence and compassion will fulfil them and build strong bonds of friendship and trust with the communities they enter. I am confident they will each return as changed people, having seen the face of God in the situations and people that they meet along the way. They take with them our kindest wishes and blessings.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Volume 29 Issue 9

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

We recently held our parent teacher student meetings and it was good to see so many parents use the opportunity to meet teachers and receive feedback on their daughter’s progress. It is equally valuable that the girls receive the affirmation they deserve or hear the suggested changes that will bring about a better outcome for them. We have adjusted the configuration several times over the years in an effort to find a model that is most conducive to the busy lifestyle our parents are now managing. The parent attendance percentages were higher on this model, so we are assuming it is a more favourable model for our parents. Please let us know if you continue to have difficulties in attending these important events. The OECD has released the third volume of analysis of 2015 PISA results which focus on student wellbeing as reported by the students. The findings include some very interesting evidence of parental impact on student success. It found that students whose parents reported ‘spending time just talking to my child’, ‘eating the main meal with my child around a table’ or ‘discussing how well my child is doing at school’ regularly were between 22 percent to 39 percent more likely to report high levels of life satisfaction. ‘Spending time just talking’ is the parental activity that is most frequently and most strongly associated with students’ life satisfaction. These same students were also one third to two thirds of a school year ahead in science learning. Given this data, parental involvement in their daughter’s education and life experiences continues to have a significant influence on that child’s growth and development. I would like to urge those parents who repeatedly do not access this opportunity to meet with their daughter’s teachers to contact the College to find a suitable time when a meeting can be held.

Can I warmly invite you to the College musical, hosted this year at St Gregory’s College. The young people have been busy preparing for this wonderful experience and are very keen to display their talents and abilities. Beauty and the Beast has a wonderful score and stage sets which I am sure will delight the audience. Tickets can now be purchased at the door and hopefully we will see you at one of the evening performances. I extend my appreciation to Mrs Sue Dein from St Greg’s for her wonderful organisation of this event. It is always a great pleasure to work with the staff and young men at St Greg’s on this joint project.

We are once again hosting the Year 5 and 6 girls primary school STEM Challenge. All the local primary schools will again be invited to compete. Last year, St Thomas More Catholic Primary School won the trophy. It is a very positive experience for our students in assisting on the day and it gives the visitors a good insight into the rigour and fun of an all-girls’ challenge. If you would like further information on this, please contact the College.

Next week, we will hold the subject preferences evening for Year 11 2018. All Year 10 parents and students are required to be present. The girls have gone through a process, up to this point, gaining valuable information on the different courses available in the preliminary and HSC years. Parents will receive information about the HSC credential and the NESA requirements. We will also launch the #class2019spc Facebook page to the girls. Please let Mr Quigley know if it is impossible for you to attend.

Finally, I would like to welcome you to our NAIDOC assembly on 26 June at 1.30pm. You are also most welcome to the St Benedict Day Mass on 30 June beginning at 10am. Both of these events will celebrate our community and the gifts we have each been given to share.

I will leave you with a small reflection Catch a Glimpse written by Susan Gardner

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Catch a glimpse of the wonder that is around you
Shout and sing the goodness of what and who you are.

Shout and sing, for the goodness of the one who sent me.
Yes, sent me out to be a light, a true sign of hope and love.

So, in your freedom, I will send you out and you will bring about order and truth.
And your life will be one of freedom; but only in me, and I will teach all to you.
Remember, I am the teacher and the one who loves without end.

Volume 29 Issue 8

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

I am watching the NRL State of Origin 1 game as I work on this editorial tonight and I have to say, it is wonderful to see the Blues finally looking so strong at Suncorp Stadium! My sincere condolences to our Queensland families who will be feeling just a bit gutted at the moment. The competition is the best of three games, so the final outcome could be anyone’s.

At the beginning of the year, the College moved to a different information platform. It has proven to be a bumpy transition and we continue to have problems with the integrity of the data in the new system. Please bear with us as we continue to work with the company to iron out the difficulties. Our staff have been excellent in working and responding to your concerns, however  the program has been problematic at times, which has worked against staff efforts. We expect to have it rectified in the coming weeks. We appreciate your support and understanding.

The last day of this term is Benedict Day. Over the last few years, we have held a mass and an academic awards ceremony. From this year we will no longer hold the academic awards ceremony at this time, as the majority of our courses run across the whole of the year. We will explore ways of acknowledging academic achievement throughout the year. The end of year awards will remain the same, acknowledging academic achievements, effort and include our special and prestigious awards. The day will continue to have the Mass for St Benedict and we will have activities and stalls raising money for the Good Samaritan Foundation. Please feel free to contact myself or Mrs McGeachie if you wish to discuss this further.

Next Tuesday, we have Ms Dianne McGrath visiting the College. She has been shortlisted as a finalist to be one of the people to travel on a spaceship to the planet Mars. It is expected that the successful people will never return back to Earth. Dianne will speak to the girls at assembly on Tuesday. This has been proudly sponsored by the P&F.  If you would like to listen to her address, please feel free to attend the College. It will be held in the Mary Sheil Centre beginning at 9.00am.

Finally, this week falls in Reconciliation Week. Flanked by Sorry Day, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the Mabo Decision, it is a week when we reflect on where we have journeyed towards reconciliation.  The theme for this year is ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’ and refers to the need for constitutional reform to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take a rightful place in the country. To be informed on the constitutional recognition movement, please click here.

I will leave you with a reflection on Reconciliation Week.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

 

Reconciliation Prayer:
Holy Father, God of Love
You are the Creator of this land and all good things
We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history
And the suffering of our peoples.
And we ask your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures
Our hope is in you because you gave your son Jesus
To reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive,
Accept and love one another,
As you love us and forgive and accept us
In the sacrifice of your Son.
Give us the courage to accept the realities of our history
So that we may build a better future for our nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.
Help us to bring about spiritual and social change
To improve the quality of life for all groups
in our communities,
Especially the disadvantaged
Help our young people to find true dignity and self
esteem by your Spirit
May your power and love be the foundations
on which we build our families, our communities
and our Nation.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Volume 29 Issue 7

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Happy Mother’s Day to all of our mothers and mother figures, aunties and grandmothers. We hope you had a lovely Sunday last weekend and that the family suitably acknowledged your support and contributions over time. We hosted our Mother Daughter High Tea and once again it was a very enjoyable afternoon. The food was delicious and the stalls were very enticing. Michelle Fox, ex-student, entertained us with music and the photo booth kept guests very busy. I would like to extend our thanks to the P&F for their organisation of the event. Particularly President Denise Egan, who did a great job coordinating everything on the Saturday.

Last week, we held the College’s AGM. As an independent College, established as a company limited by guarantee, we are mandated to hold an AGM. Our members visited the College and were once again impressed with the work of the community and now further impressed with our new learning spaces. It was gratifying to share the successes of 2016 and as well the challenges through the year. They are a very supportive group of people who have the best interests of the College at heart. Sr Elizabeth,  chair of members,  is a strong advocate of the College and is very supportive of the achievements of the girls in all their endeavours. We are very fortunate to have such loyal and committed members.

Last Tuesday, we hosted Parent Teacher Student interviews for all girls from Year 7 to Year 11. It is always a very constructive conversation, which offers the student both affirmation and support in areas for further development. We have offered two evenings to accommodate the busy lifestyles of our families. I do hope, if you didn’t attend last Tuesday evening, that we will see you this coming Wednesday evening. Our staff are very supportive of your daughter’s education and are keen to speak with you about her progress.

This Saturday, we are interviewing Year 5 girls and some Year 6 girls for enrolment at St Patrick’s College. We have had a large number of applications this year, which indicates the level of interest in the College from the wider community. If you know of anyone who is interested in sending their daughter to St Patrick’s in 2018 or 2019, they will need to put in an application as soon as possible. We have the bus service established from Oran Park Town now if any families are interested. It incurs a nominal fee, however the trip is directly to and from school and is considerably shorter than the time taken by the  other commercial bus companies.

Please keep the Year 11 girls in your prayers as they come to the end of their half yearly exams. They will notice the greater expectation and demands these exams have of them compared to their earlier years. This is all in preparation of their HSC year, which is just around the corner.  Finally, I will leave you with the acknowledgement of country read by Payton Rae S at the Mother Daughter High Tea on Saturday at the College.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

Acknowledgement of Country- Mother Daughter High Tea 2017

Before we begin our special gathering today to remember our mothers, we would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet; the Dharawal People. This land has been and always will have deep connections for the Dharawal, as it is from this land their Dreaming comes, it is the mother and giver of life to all Aboriginal people. This land is also connected to many other nations such as the Gundungarra and the Dharug people and we pay respect to them also here today, as well as any other nation who is connected to these lands.

We would also like to acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today and pay respect to our Elders, past, present and future. May their spirits be strong enough to guide and watch over us as we each go on our individual journeys.

We also pay respect and acknowledge all mothers here today. Mothers come in all forms, they too like our land are the givers of life. We acknowledge their love, their support, their knowledge, their teachings and their sacrifices. As we share our time here today with our mothers, may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.

Welcome back to Term 2 at St Pat’s

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College,

Welcome back to school and to Term 2. You will have noticed that the media at the moment is filled with the announcement made by the Prime Minister of the new funding model know as ‘Gonski 2.0.’ Part of the report is that a number of Catholic independent schools will lose  a significant amount of funding over the next 10 years. I would like to reassure you that St Patrick’s College has at no time been overfunded by any of the governments, so is not one of the 24 schools that will be most impacted by this change. If the model does in fact align funding with need, we could see a modest increase in our funding for the next funding cycle. As there is little detail at this point, we will have to remain hopeful for a better outcome for the girls at the College. It is our belief that all students in Australia are entitled to education funding, regardless of the sector they choose to provide that education.

Last week, Year 9 girls participated in their camp. This is quite a gruelling camp as there is no mobile phone access, no showers, no flushing toilets and girls sleep in a tent one night and very basic cabins the other. The purpose of the camp is to build resilience. It is the third camp the girls will have attended and each builds on the skills and capabilities of the one prior. Why do we see such value in building resilience in the girls? Our girls, your daughters, live in a very challenging world. They are constantly bombarded with messages both written and in images of what they should do, should look like and how they should act. The mold is very narrow and unfortunately when they don’t fit it, or try to change it, they will find resistance. It is at those times they need to be resilient. They need to be able to reassure themselves that they are okay, that they are good and that they will get through the adversity. Spending three days in the bush, feeling very much out of their comfort zone, helps them to appreciate their own strengths, skills and qualities. In walking out of the bush, they realise that they made it and in spite of the many challenges, they enjoyed themselves. These are rare experiences but very valuable in their development into healthy young women.

Almost every month we come across material that the girls are accessing that has concerning content. You may have come across some of these: a Netflix series called ’13 Reasons Why’  or a new website called ‘Blue Whale’. Both expose girls to very disturbing concepts that can have a significant impact on their health and safety. Sadly, neither of us can protect the girls 24/7 from this type of material. So it becomes crucial that the girls recognise material that is high risk for them and that they feel comfortable to seek advice from you or the College. They need to be resilient to be able to avert the influence of these websites and films and differentiate between what is fiction and what is fact. They also need to be protected by parents and schools through the use of clear expectations, structures and rules which provide them with security and stability. It is not easy raising girls into young women in this day and age. However open communication, being curious and interested in what your daughter does and what she is interested in will contribute to a level of trust between you that will be invaluable when she finds herself in a situation she is not sure she can manage on her own. If you are aware that you daughter has accessed any material that is concerning, please don’t hesitate to contact the College and we can support you and your daughter in managing this.

On 6 June, we are hosting a presentation from Dianne McGrath who is one of the shortlisted scientists hoping to join the expedition to the planet Mars. Dianne will come to the College to speak to the girls about her work and how she was successful in progressing to the next stage of the competition. If you would like to attend the assembly, you are more than welcome. It will begin at 8.45am in the Mary Sheil Centre. Parents were also invited to attend the opening address of the Year 9 STEM day this Friday. Representatives from several universities and industry will be working with the girls in workshops to build cars, solar panels and other exciting projects. I would like to acknowledge the work of Mrs Debra Bourne and the STEM team, who has organised this day for the girls.

Last Tuesday, we held the ANZAC assembly at the College. Federal member Dr Michael Freelander, Mr Walter Robinson from Campbelltown RSL and Mr Jeff McGill were our special guests. The girls from the history committee were exceptional in conducting the assembly. Multi media presentations, poems, playing the bugle and introductions were all done by the girls. I would like to acknowledge Mrs Fran Musico Rullo  for her work on the assembly. It was a very moving and fitting ceremony to mark ANZAC Day.

Finally, I would like to wish the debaters all the best as we embark on another season of debating this year. We have a large contingent of debaters, madame chairs and timekeepers for this year. It is wonderful to see so many girls give up their Friday evening to contribute to this very worthwhile activity. I would like to thank Ms Pulham for her organisation and hard work in providing the opportunity for the girls.

In closing, a final prayer as we celebrate the Easter season.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

God is on the Loose

The tomb is empty
The stone laid back
The womb is full
The stones cry out for joy
Risen one stand among us
Speak your words of peace
That we may participate
In your just living

Volume 29 Issue 6

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox – Principal

Welcome back to school and to Term 2. You will have noticed that the media at the moment is filled with the announcement made by the Prime Minister of the new funding model know as ‘Gonski 2.0.’ Part of the report is that a number of Catholic independent schools will lose  a significant amount of funding over the next 10 years. I would like to reassure you that St Patrick’s College has at no time been overfunded by any of the governments, so is not one of the 24 schools that will be most impacted by this change. If the model does in fact align funding with need, we could see a modest increase in our funding for the next funding cycle. As there is little detail at this point, we will have to remain hopeful for a better outcome for the girls at the College. It is our belief that all students in Australia are entitled to education funding, regardless of the sector they choose to provide that education.

Last week, Year 9 girls participated in their camp. This is quite a gruelling camp as there is no mobile phone access, no showers, no flushing toilets and girls sleep in a tent one night and very basic cabins the other. The purpose of the camp is to build resilience. It is the third camp the girls will have attended and each builds on the skills and capabilities of the one prior. Why do we see such value in building resilience in the girls? Our girls, your daughters, live in a very challenging world. They are constantly bombarded with messages both written and in images of what they should do, should look like and how they should act. The mold is very narrow and unfortunately when they don’t fit it, or try to change it, they will find resistance. It is at those times they need to be resilient. They need to be able to reassure themselves that they are okay, that they are good and that they will get through the adversity. Spending three days in the bush, feeling very much out of their comfort zone, helps them to appreciate their own strengths, skills and qualities. In walking out of the bush, they realise that they made it and in spite of the many challenges, they enjoyed themselves. These are rare experiences but very valuable in their development into healthy young women.

Almost every month we come across material that the girls are accessing that has concerning content. You may have come across some of these: a Netflix series called ’13 Reasons Why’  or a new website called ‘Blue Whale’. Both expose girls to very disturbing concepts that can have a significant impact on their health and safety. Sadly, neither of us can protect the girls 24/7 from this type of material. So it becomes crucial that the girls recognise material that is high risk for them and that they feel comfortable to seek advice from you or the College. They need to be resilient to be able to avert the influence of these websites and films and differentiate between what is fiction and what is fact. They also need to be protected by parents and schools through the use of clear expectations, structures and rules which provide them with security and stability. It is not easy raising girls into young women in this day and age. However open communication, being curious and interested in what your daughter does and what she is interested in will contribute to a level of trust between you that will be invaluable when she finds herself in a situation she is not sure she can manage on her own. If you are aware that you daughter has accessed any material that is concerning, please don’t hesitate to contact the College and we can support you and your daughter in managing this.

On 6 June, we are hosting a presentation from Dianne McGrath who is one of the shortlisted scientists hoping to join the expedition to the planet Mars. Dianne will come to the College to speak to the girls about her work and how she was successful in progressing to the next stage of the competition. If you would like to attend the assembly, you are more than welcome. It will begin at 8.45am in the Mary Sheil Centre. Parents were also invited to attend the opening address of the Year 9 STEM day this Friday. Representatives from several universities and industry will be working with the girls in workshops to build cars, solar panels and other exciting projects. I would like to acknowledge the work of Mrs Debra Bourne and the STEM team, who has organised this day for the girls.

Last Tuesday, we held the ANZAC assembly at the College. Federal member Dr Michael Freelander, Mr Walter Robinson from Campbelltown RSL and Mr Jeff McGill were our special guests. The girls from the history committee were exceptional in conducting the assembly. Multi media presentations, poems, playing the bugle and introductions were all done by the girls. I would like to acknowledge Mrs Fran Musico Rullo  for her work on the assembly. It was a very moving and fitting ceremony to mark ANZAC Day.

Finally, I would like to wish the debaters all the best as we embark on another season of debating this year. We have a large contingent of debaters, madame chairs and timekeepers for this year. It is wonderful to see so many girls give up their Friday evening to contribute to this very worthwhile activity. I would like to thank Ms Pulham for her organisation and hard work in providing the opportunity for the girls.

In closing, a final prayer as we celebrate the Easter season.

Blessings

Sue Lennox – Principal

God is on the Loose

The tomb is empty
The stone laid back
The womb is full
The stones cry out for joy
Risen one stand among us
Speak your words of peace
That we may participate
In your just living