29 May 2015

I recently attended the NSW Catholic School Principals Conference in Dubbo. Whilst time away from the College is always a difficult pressure, on this occasion the speakers and the workshops proved to be very interesting. A number of international speakers were present and they explored the notion of learning for this new millennium.

Valerie Hannon spoke about the new culture of engagement needed in schools. It was pleasing to realise that many of the strategies we have implemented at St Patrick’s College Campbelltown reflect what she was advocating. The implementation of an integrated curriculum, high levels of professional learning for staff and a focus on the needs of the whole student, which is our Academic Care model, are all in line with the current educational research. Yang Zhao spoke about the need for us to encourage the development of the entrepreneur in our classes. The current educational regime satisfies an old paradigm, one which was designed to prepare young people to move from the farm and into the industrialised society. Our society is very different to this, so we must review how we prepare our girls for this new globalised world and then relate this in the learning at the College.  Such input is always very inspirational and motivating as we work to ensure that we give our students the BEST advantage for their future.

During the course of this conference I came upon 3 ex-student’s from St Patrick’s College. What an absolute delight to meet such competent and intelligent women who fondly shared with me their experiences at St Patrick’s. Ms Jeanette Wilkins and Mrs Lynne Pull (nee Channell) are both principals and live in the Lismore diocese. Ms Kylie-Ann Haynes (nee Barr) organised the entire conference with her company and now lives in Wollongong. I felt very humbled to meet such good women and ambassadors of the great educational legacy St Patrick’s College continues to give to our girls both past and present.At its recent meeting, the Board accepted the final draft of the Mission statement. The Vision and Mission statement includes contributions from parents, students and staff. It will now be launched in the coming weeks. It outlines what the College will continue to work towards in the years to come.

If you have a daughter in Year 11 or 12, I am sure she will have shared with you her recent experience of Retreat. We are one of the few schools who offer retreat experiences to girls in both Year 11 and 12. These opportunities are invaluable for the girls and provide them with spaces in their life to reflect, pray and connect with their God. Before long they will have left the College and my hope is that through this opportunity they will have established a relationship with their God that they can nurture and continue to grow in the years to come. To have achieved this will be a very strong indicator of success for us at the College. I thank Mr Angelo Gattone and Mrs Petah Foran for their work on the programs and to all the teachers who took time away from their families to be with their students for this memorable event.

We have included photographs of our Integration space. The P&F provided the finances that enabled us to purchase beautiful furniture for the girls in these spaces. I thank them for their support and your support in improving the spaces for the girls at the College.

Last Sunday was the feast of Pentecost. This has to be my favourite church feast. Imagine the apostles in the room absolutely fear ridden as they had lost their leader and were very unsure of what now and where to from here! They expected Christ to come back soon, but really hadn’t figured what to do now he wasn’t back as yet. The spirit filled them with hope and courage. They left the room emboldened and committed to their mission. I pray that we also receive  the gifts of the spirit  so we can continue to do the work of Jesus in our communities and in our society.

I will leave you with a small reflection on Pentecost.

Assist me, O Holy Spirit,
in all my trials of life,
enlighten me in my ignorance, advise me in my doubts,
strengthen me in my weakness, help me in all my needs,
protect me in temptations and console me in afflictions.
Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit,
and pour Your light into my heart, my soul, and my mind.
Assist me to live a holy life and to grow in goodness and grace.

Amen

Blessings
Sue Lennox

Volume 27 Issue 8

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

I recently attended the NSW Catholic School Principals Conference in Dubbo. Whilst time away from the College is always a difficult pressure, on this occasion the speakers and the workshops proved to be very interesting. A number of international speakers were present and they explored the notion of learning for this new millennium.

Valerie Hannon spoke about the new culture of engagement needed in schools. It was pleasing to realise that many of the strategies we have implemented at St Patrick’s College Campbelltownreflect what she was advocating. The implementation of an integrated curriculum, high levels of professional learning for staff and a focus on the needs of the whole student, which is our Academic Care model, are all in line with the current educational research. Yang Zhao spoke about the need for us to encourage the development of the entrepreneur in our classes. The current educational regime satisfies an old paradigm, one which was designed to prepare young people to move from the farm and into the industrialised society. Our society is very different to this, so we must review how we prepare our girls for this new globalised world and then relate this in the learning at the College.  Such input is always very inspirational and motivating as we work to ensure that we give our students the BEST advantage for their future.

During the course of this conference I came upon 3 ex-student’s from St Patrick’s College. What an absolute delight to meet such competent and intelligent women who fondly shared with me their experiences at St Patrick’s. Ms Jeanette Wilkins and Mrs Lynne Pull (nee Channell) are both principals and live in the Lismore diocese. Ms Kylie-Ann Haynes (nee Barr) organised the entire conference with her company and now lives in Wollongong. I felt very humbled to meet such good women and ambassadors of the great educational legacy St Patrick’s College continues to give to our girls both past and present.

At its recent meeting, the Board accepted the final draft of the Mission statement. The Vision and Mission statement includes contributions from parents, students and staff. It will now be launched in the coming weeks. It outlines what the College will continue to work towards in the years to come.

If you have a daughter in Year 11 or 12, I am sure she will have shared with you her recent experience of Retreat. We are one of the few schools who offer retreat experiences to girls in both Year 11 and 12. These opportunities are invaluable for the girls and provide them with spaces in their life to reflect, pray and connect with their God. Before long they will have left the College and my hope is that through this opportunity they will have established a relationship with their God that they can nurture and continue to grow in the years to come. To have achieved this will be a very strong indicator of success for us at the College. I thank Mr Angelo Gattone and Mrs Petah Foran for their work on the programs and to all the teachers who took time away from their families to be with their students for this memorable event.

We have included photographs of our Integration space. The P&F provided the finances that enabled us to purchase beautiful furniture for the girls in these spaces. I thank them for their support and your support in improving the spaces for the girls at the College.

Last Sunday was the feast of Pentecost. This has to be my favourite church feast. Imagine the apostles in the room absolutely fear ridden as they had lost their leader and were very unsure of what now and where to from here! They expected Christ to come back soon, but really hadn’t figured what to do now he wasn’t back as yet. The spirit filled them with hope and courage. They left the room emboldened and committed to their mission. I pray that we also receive  the gifts of the spirit  so we can continue to do the work of Jesus in our communities and in our society.

I will leave you with a small reflection on Pentecost.

Assist me, O Holy Spirit,
in all my trials of life,
enlighten me in my ignorance, advise me in my doubts,
strengthen me in my weakness, help me in all my needs,
protect me in temptations and console me in afflictions.
Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit,
and pour Your light into my heart, my soul, and my mind.
Assist me to live a holy life and to grow in goodness and grace.

Amen

Blessings
Sue Lennox

Volume 27 Issue 6

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Term 2 certainly has had a very wet and soggy start. I hope you have not sustained any damage to your property during the wild winds and the hard rain. Watching the girls return to school as they battled the elements was difficult, however they soldiered on and their dampness and discomfort was alleviated as they caught up with friends and exchanged their stories of their Easter break.

During the past term, the girls had worked on preparing for the ANZAC assembly which was held on Monday 27th April. Year 7 and 8 made poppies. Year 9 completed slouch hats which had the name of an Australian killed in the Vietnam war on it. Year 10 created paper rose wreaths with the names of Australians killed in WW1. Year 11 and 12 made crosses, each colour representing a different conflict from the Boxer rebellion right to Afghanistan naming service persons who were killed in the conflict. RE students looked at the symbols of ANZACS , indigenous perspectives and the role of the army chaplain. English students studied the role of the nurses, Math students studied the statistics of Gallipoli and Science students studied the Lone Pine. Food tech students made ANZAC biscuits and Geography students studied the geography of Gallipoli. PDHPE did an army boot camp and Visual Arts created a multimedia artwork. Evidence of this cross disciplinary approach was displayed in the Mary Sheil Centre on the day.

The ceremony brought together many different cultures, perspectives and experiences. We respected those who had fallen, with a particular reference to relatives of students and staff from our College community and those from the local community. It was sensitively presented and well received. I would like to thank Mrs Fran Musico Rullo for her passion and drive, the HSIE faculty and all other staff for their support and work leading up to the day. I would also like to congratulate the girls who were outstanding in their participation and contributions at all levels.

Later in the week we hosted the College AGM. As a company, we have Members of the Company and a Board of Directors. The Chair of Member, Sr. Elizabeth Delaney has been involved in the College for 25 years. We are very grateful for the support and wisdom she has provided St Patrick’s College over that time. During the Easter break our Board Chair was awarded his doctorate. I would like to congratulate Dr Michael McDonald for this outstanding achievement and also thank him for the time and leadership he continues to give St Patrick’s College through the Board. We are very fortunate at the College to have such capable and experienced professionals leading and advocating for our community. Both the members and directors present on the day were delighted to witness some of the talent in the College during the assembly and then again through the submitted reports at the meeting.

Again, in the past week, we have been confronted with news of the further pain and suffering of people in our world through natural disaster or political legislation. How can God be present in these events and in times like this? The answer may well be found in the writings of St Teresa’s:

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth; yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.”

Blessings,
Sue Lennox, Principal

Issue 5

This is the last edition of the Inside Out for this term. I hope you enjoyed the commemorative issue that was posted to you with your daughter’s interim report during the last two weeks.

I would like to thank all the people involved in these celebrations as they truly mark a very special year.

The Ball raised over $10,000 which will make a significant difference to the lives of some of the girls and their families. Thank you to the organising committee Mary Ellen Bland, Marion Windle, Sarah Hardie , and Julie O’Keefe. All these women have busy working and family lives and their work on this committee is very much appreciated. I would also like to acknowledge the work of staff member Ms Deborah Renshaw who has had a very busy time negotiating and supporting the activities of the term with such precision and fine tune execution.

Next Saturday we will all go to the polls to vote in the next State Government. This is a wonderful privilege we have in our free and democratic country. I ask that you carefully consider the impact of the various policies from the major political parties on your daughter’s education. The NSW Greens released their policies recently which clearly demonstrate they will continue to strongly oppose funding to non-government schools.  Both Liberal-National Party and the Australian Labour Party support the Gonski payment agreement and will continue to recognise the need to provide Capital funding for Catholic independent schools. A comparison paper created by the Catholic Education Commission and Bishop Peter Ingham are attached to this edition of the Inside Out for your consideration.

I would like to congratulate the following parents who have again put their hand up to take on roles in the College’s P&F committee.

President: Jodi Stuart
Vice president: Monique Keogh
Treasurer: George Gatt
Secretary: Fiona Evans

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to these wonderful people for taking on these roles once again. Like all of us, they are very busy and they have generously given their time for your daughters. There are a few vacancies which still need to be filled:

Junior Dance coordinator
Mother daughter coordinator
Father daughter coordinator
Open day coordinator

Can I suggest you bring a friend and offer to assist with these great community events. It would be a great shame if we were unable to hold them because we couldn’t find a coordinator. Please call Jodi Stuart or Deb Renshaw at the College if you would like some further information.

Last Friday was National Action Day Against Bullying. The girls in Pastoral spent some time discussing bullying and the evidence of it in this community. It was very pleasing to hear anecdotally that the girls expressed the view that St Patrick’s College Campbelltown is a very safe environment and that allegations of bullying here are always attended to and dealt with. We have policies and procedures in place to deal with any bullying allegation as it arises and we work with the girls to also recognise it in their interactions. Needless to say, if your daughter is being bullied or if you have any information of anyone else being bullied, that you inform the College immediately so we can intervene.

You may have read recently the Minister for Education has approved changes to the way leave is recorded by schools. As part of the implementation of the ACARA National Standards, holidays taken by students outside of the school vacation period will be recorded as an absence. In addition to this the principal has the authority to determine the leave as unjustified if she/he believes the leave is not in the student’s best interest. I ask that you give careful consideration to any absence away from school during the term as it does disadvantage your daughter’s progress at school. If you have any queries regarding leave for your daughter please discuss this with her Year Coordinator and complete the application form which goes to the Principal.

Earlier in March, Sr Doreen Dyson sadly passed away. Sr Doreen was a staff member at St Patrick’s College Campbelltown from 1989 to 1991 taking responsibility for enrolments and general administration. After her role at the College, she worked with St Vincent de Paul in the Macquarie Fields area. She was a good organiser and dynamic team member. A few of our longer serving staff have very fond memories of Sr Doreen and we keep in our thoughts and prayers  the Sisters who have lost one of their own. May she rest in peace.

On 28 February, Mr Lord received a National Medal and Long Service Medal for his work in the NSW Rural Fire Service. This is a very prestigious award to receive and we congratulate him on his generous and loyal contributions to the service for over 39 years. 

Finally, as we go into Easter I hope you and the family are able to participate in one of the Church services across the week. The pain and suffering of Holy Week through to the time of great joy as we celebrate the risen Christ on Easter Sunday is a very special time in our faith tradition. I will leave you a short Easter Blessing:

 

“May the truth of Easter
The joy of Easter
And the blessings of Easter
Be with you this day and all days”
Happy Easter

Blessings
Sue Lennox
Principal

Issue 6

Term 2 certainly has had a very wet and soggy start. I hope you have not sustained any damage to your property during the wild winds and the hard rain. Watching the girls return to school as they battled the elements was difficult, however they soldiered on and their dampness and discomfort was alleviated as they caught up with friends and exchanged their stories of their Easter break.

During the past term, the girls had worked on preparing for the ANZAC assembly which was held on Monday 27th April. Year 7 and 8 made poppies. Year 9 completed slouch hats which had the name of an Australian killed in the Vietnam war on it. Year 10 created paper rose wreaths with the names of Australians killed in WW1. Year 11 and 12 made crosses, each colour representing a different conflict from the Boxer rebellion right to Afghanistan naming service persons who were killed in the conflict. RE students looked at the symbols of ANZACS , indigenous perspectives and the role of the army chaplain. English students studied the role of the nurses, Math students studied the statistics of Gallipoli and Science students studied the Lone Pine. Food tech students made ANZAC biscuits and Geography students studied the geography of Gallipoli. PDHPE did an army boot camp and Visual Arts created a multimedia artwork. Evidence of this cross disciplinary approach was displayed in the Mary Sheil Centre on the day.

The ceremony brought together many different cultures, perspectives and experiences. We respected those who had fallen, with a particular reference to relatives of students and staff from our College community and those from the local community. It was sensitively presented and well received. I would like to thank Mrs Fran Musico Rullo for her passion and drive, the HSIE faculty and all other staff for their support and work leading up to the day. I would also like to congratulate the girls who were outstanding in their participation and contributions at all levels.

Later in the week we hosted the College AGM. As a company, we have Members of the Company and a Board of Directors. The Chair of Member, Sr. Elizabeth Delaney has been involved in the College for 25 years. We are very grateful for the support and wisdom she has provided St Patrick’s College over that time. During the Easter break our Board Chair was awarded his doctorate. I would like to congratulate Dr Michael McDonald for this outstanding achievement and also thank him for the time and leadership he continues to give St Patrick’s College through the Board. We are very fortunate at the College to have such capable and experienced professionals leading and advocating for our community. Both the members and directors present on the day were delighted to witness some of the talent in the College during the assembly and then again through the submitted reports at the meeting.

Again, in the past week, we have been confronted with news of the further pain and suffering of people in our world through natural disaster or political legislation. How can God be present in these events and in times like this? The answer may well be found in the writings of St Teresa’s:

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth; yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.”

Blessings,
Sue Lennox, Principal

Issue 7

Throughout the month of May the College processes the applications for girls seeking enrolment at St Patrick’s College. Last Friday a number of staff assisted with the interviews of Year 5 and 6 students. On Thursday and Saturday we held auditions, interviews and tests for those students applying for scholarships. When asking why the girls want to come to St Patrick’s it is inspiring to hear of their desire to achieve their best in their studies, they speak of the opportunities offered at the College and they speak about the best chance they have to become the young women they wish to become.

Last Friday we hosted the debating for the CSDA competition. It was delightful to see so many of our ex-students return to assist with adjudicating and coaching the younger teams. They stood out as articulate, responsive women who have the world ahead of them. These young women are a credit to their families and the College.

Six years at St Patrick’s College produces women who are confident, self assured and competent. I see this regularly in the various arenas around the community. Whilst at St Patrick’s they can develop without pressure or bias into the person they truly can become. They are given support and encouragement and develop resilience to meet the challenges of the years beyond school. This is what the young girls I have interviewed see and want. They are girls of determination and have a clear understanding of where they want to be when they grow up. These girls will be a great asset to our community and I hold great optimism for the ongoing strength of the College as it continues to offer programs that enable the girls to bloom.

Last week Mr Scott Ashcroft competed in the Australian Ironman Triathlon Championships held in Port Macquarie. The Ironman Triathlon consists of a 3.8km swim, a 180km ride and a 42.2km run. He achieved an outstanding result finishing in 9 hours and 15 minutes which placed him 8th overall in a strong field that included at least 15 full time professional athletes. Being the first male to finish in the 35-39 year age group means that Mr Ashcroft now wears the title of Australian Ironman Champion for the next twelve months and has qualified to represent Australia at the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii in October. Mr Ashcroft is still an amateur competitor and has prepared for this event whilst holding down a full time job, as well as family responsibilities. Well done Mr Ashcroft and we wish you good counsel as you decide your next direction with this.

Year 7, 9 and 11 students have been very busy of late. Year 11 have just come out of an examination period and will enjoy the balance and space only a retreat can offer. Please keep them and the staff in your thoughts during this time. With the staging of the NAPLAN exams this week, the girls in Years 7 and 9 have been busy writing, reading and calculating across the three days. I hope the girls have found the examinations clear and straight forward and that their results will reflect their capacities accurately.

Last Saturday we hosted the annual Mother Daughter High Tea. It was again a great event with over 300 people attending. The food was plentiful and delicious and the stalls provided many last minute Mother’s Day gift items for the girls to purchase. This year we also had entertainment which was well received by many of the audience. I would like to extend my thanks to the P&F executive Jodi Stuart, Monique Keogh, Fiona Evans and George Gatt for their excellent work over the year and for this event. Sadly, Secretary Fiona Evans will be retiring effective immediately from the P&F and President Jodi Stuart will be finishing at the end of the year. I would like to thank Fiona for her work over the years and wish her the best as she finishes at the College. If we are unable to fill these roles by the end of the year, we will not be able to run the High Tea, Father Daughter Dinner dance, College Dances or BBQ support in 2016. These events are not hugely difficult if you have a few parents who are prepared to assist. I ask that you seriously consider your ability to assist the P&F at this time and that you contact me or Jodi Stuart for some further information.

I will finish with a Mother’s Day prayer. I hope all of our mothers and mother figures had a lovely day last Sunday and that the family continue to show their love and appreciation to you for the remainder of the year.

I may not pray often, and I may not pray enough but when I do, this is all I ask of you…
God, please give me a heart just like hers
She loves unconditionally, no matter what, no matter who…
God, give me courage to be like her
She’s very brave, she makes me unafraid…
God, give me wisdom just like hers
She knows everything, big and small, she’s there to help through it all…
God, give me strength just like hers
She’s been knocked down, Yet she stands strong for another round…
God, give me beauty just like hers
When she smiles it gives me that feeling that everything will be okay,
And all my problems disappear for awhile…
God, give me generosity just like hers
She helps the helpless, She never thinks of herself and she’s so unselfish…
God, someday, if I’m at least half the mum she was to me,
I’ll know that you were listening
On the day that I prayed.
Amen

Blessings,
Sue Lennox