From the Principal
Can you believe it is 'that' time of the year again? The jacaranda is in bloom, purple flowers trumpet the oncoming of the Advent season , Christmas songs in the shopping centres, Christmas decoration pop up shops to 'get us into the mood' and lots of fake snow! When will we get advertising and marketing that embraces our landscape and climate conditions, rather than snow, pine cones, frozen lakes, reindeer and freezing conditions? Soon enough it will be 25 December and we will once again be celebrating the birth of our Lord. Time moves very fast!
There is once again material in the media about the benefits of both single sex and co-educational schools. There is available a plethora of research material that supports the benefits of an all-girls' education, but this is regularly dismissed by the advocates of the co-educational context. Over the last year a number of high profile boys' schools in NSW have announced their transition from all boys to co-educational. Why is this? Why would you change if you are providing a product which has demonstrated strong benefits? Why would an advocate of an all-boys' educational institution, having promoted all-boys' education for decades now promote the benefits of the co-educational structure? The headmaster of one such school was quoted in the media saying this was a future minded approach. He went on further to say that gender is no longer the determining factor in a young person's life choice. This is certainly in conflict with the current data that reflects significant correlation between gender and career directions due to biases. One of the overriding strengths for girls' in an all-girls educational setting is the liberty they experience in being given the permission to enjoy and fully experience any course, irrespective of their gender. For the girls who join us after having been in a co-educational school, they are unanimous in celebrating their new liberties in the all-girls setting. Moving from single sex to a co-educational setting is a very significant shift and one that I imagine the parents of the children enrolled in the single sex school would find rather perplexing. I find it very reassuring to know that at St Patrick's we continue to dedicate ourselves to the education of girls as we have done since the sisters began this in 1887. Through this focus, we offer a different service to the other schools in our community that is both valued and well regarded. Our girls achieve and succeed because of our capacity to tailor a modern education that has supported their growth and development into competent young women over time and into the future.
The last two weeks have provided many opportunities for the girls to be active and involved. Last Friday, the big sister little sister Big Night In held in the Drama space was very well supported by the girls, see pictures below. The Year 10 Social Night held in the MSC was also a very well organised and supported evening. During the weekend a group of girls entered the Fisher's Ghost Fun Run and were awarded the best represented school. On Tuesday we hosted local migrant and refugees for a dinner and on Thursday we were delighted to hold Orientation Day with our 2017 Year 7 girls. The 6 aside soccer championship is becoming very exciting with the finals looming and, as you read this edition, on Friday afternoon many middle school girls will be frocking up for the dance that will be hosted at the College that evening with the young men from St Gregory's College. I would like to acknowledge all the staff who are marking, reporting and programming at this point, as well as attending these many events for the enjoyment of the girls. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated and hardworking staff. I hope the girls show their appreciation.
Sadly, I must inform you that Ms Anita Lusby will be retiring at the end of the year. Ms Lusby has been at the College for 17 years and previously held the English Coordinator's position for a few years before going part time. We wish her a very happy retirement and thank her for her long service to the girls at the College.
I will leave you with a poem written by Mother Teresa.
People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and
some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank
People may cheat you
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
People will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis.
It is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Poem by Mother Teresa
Sunday 27 November marks the start of Advent and the new Liturgical Year.
Advent: A time of anticipation and preparation
Advent is fast approaching. It is the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Many of the Gospel readings of the day at this time of the year make reference to fulfillment and to things winding up. It is a time of year to be contemplating things ending, while at the same time looking to the future to new beginnings.
With this in mind, our End of School Year and Advent Mass, on Tuesday 6 December, commencing at 9.30am, will focus our attention on the end of this school year and looking forward to Christmas. The end of the school year is an opportunity for us to give thanks to our God for having guided us along the journey we have taken together in 2016. Our communal Eucharist, to be led for us by Fr Michael Healy, will be our highest form of praise and thanksgiving to God.
END OF SCHOOL YEAR and ADVENT MASS on TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER 2016 at 9.30am
IN THE MARY SHEIL CENTRE
ALL ARE WELCOME
Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator
On the evening of 15 November, the St Patrick’s Students Social Justice Council hosted a dinner for newly arrived migrant families living in the Campbelltown area.
Twenty five guests (with the majority being children) attended the dinner, and the willingness of these people to interact and converse with us was amazing. The children were all full of excitement, and enjoyed telling us about their time in Australia and their home country of Iraq. They taught us words in Arabic and we all enjoyed a soccer game after the meal. It was an amazing experience to listen to these families’ stories, and understand the situations that they had come from and how they have adapted to their new life in Australia. Entertainment was provided by Kate W (Year 11 Student), who serenaded us with two beautifully sung songs as she strummed her guitar. The night aimed to welcome the families into our community and to break down common stereotypes that are held in society, and I think the dinner and interactions that came with it really helped to do this. The following words of welcome were spoken by Portia F on our behalf:
Good evening ladies, gentlemen, children,
It gives me great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome on behalf of the St Patrick’s College Community and the St Patrick’s College Students Social Justice Team.
We are very grateful to you for giving up your time to be with us tonight and we hope that you enjoy our time together, as much as we enjoy having you here today.
Our College prides itself on the Benedictine values of Love of Christ and Neighbour, Hospitality, Justice and Peace and today we extend to you all, who are valuable members of the community, a hand of welcome, acceptance and friendship.
We all know that today there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings that are portrayed by the media on a range of issues. We here at St Patrick’s also know that your individual lives present to us stories of courage, sacrifice and bravery. This gathering, in which we share a meal, is for us a symbol of harmony and shared values. We are all members of the human family and what better way to celebrate that than with a meal in the company of friends.
So we hope you enjoy tonight and we look forward to our shared future with a sense of great hope and joy.
Our welcome was repeated in Arabic. I feel that everyone who attended saw the value of the evening, and that meaningful connections were made with the guests. A large amount of time and preparation went into the planning of the evening and much of that can be attributed to Portia Ferdinand’s drive, enthusiasm and initiative. I would like to thank everyone involved who helped.
Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator and Emily W (Student)
Brooke D, Joanne S and Bridget O represented the Leadership Team at the MISA Leadership Seminar held at Macarthur Anglican College on Thursday 3 November.
The afternoon provided a great opportunity for the students to network with other leaders from Macarthur schools and to share leadership ideas and initiatives.
Louise Ibbett - Senior School Coordinator
On Tuesday 8 November 2016, Year 11 raised awareness for the Walk In Her Shoes campaign run by CARE Australia overseas.
Students taking part in Walk In Her Shoes (CARE Australia Campaign)
Women and young girls walk an average of 6km every day to collect water, which can be unclean, for their families. They face risks of sexual assault, abduction and being eaten by apex predators, such as lions. A part of this initiative is to walk a certain distance in order to raise money to help reduce the distance young girls must walk to collect water, in turn protecting them from dangers and allowing more of their time to be spent in school.
As a year group, we walked around the bottom oval for an entire period carrying buckets of water as our way of walking in her shoes. Through this event we were able to appreciate what we have available in our country, whilst girls of the same age, with passions and dreams just like us, are forced to face this reality. We invited all the girls to make a donation if they would like and collectively we raised over $70.
Thank you to all the Year 11 girls for your enthusiasm and generosity that was shown.
Claire O, Lindsay C, Gabrielle M - Year 11 Students
On Monday 7 November the library makerspace was launched at lunchtime.
Students getting crafty at lunchtime
Diana Rendina on her blog site Renovated Learning: Building a culture of creativity and discovery in education defines a makerspace as " A place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials."
At St Patrick's we have started the makerspace by having a range of materials trolleys that the students can explore to make Christmas inspired creations. Students taking part have been from both the middle and senior school. It has shown the true collaborative, inclusive and supportive nature of the students as they help each other and marvel at completed projects.
The makerspace is on each lunchtime until Friday 2 December and will return again in 2017.
Claire Stalker-Booth - College Librarian
On Monday 7 November, ten students from St Patrick’s College attended the Cabramatta High School Peace Day Celebrations. Every year the school puts on a colourful and active peace display of multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion as they have 47 different nationalities at their school.
All students from Cabramatta are involved in many ways throughout the day and students from the local schools are invited to attend. During the official ceremony, the school presents the Sydney Peace Prize to a very worthy recipient. This year, Mrs Naomi Klein was presented with the prestigious award. She received it due to her involvement and activism for the environment, a very critical issue of our time today. Her citation reads: Naomi Klein, for exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis, for inspiring us to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality, and for reminding us of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice.
Mrs Klein was an inspirational speaker. As a journalist, she felt like she needed to make a change and she did just that. She told us of her experiences of speaking to those who were grossly affected by the environmental degradation, such as our neighbours in the Pacific Islands and so therefore it is also a social justice issue. Mrs Klein affirmed that young people do care about the environment and reminded us to fight for the land and home we are living on as it could all be gone one day in the near future. Mrs Klein encouraged the youth to make an adjustment in their behaviours, attitudes and values towards the environment to make transformative change. Things like living in a way that does not cause excess pollution, not littering, having shorter showers and other ways to decrease our carbon footprint are important. Also lobbying to governments and making our voices heard is important as policy changes can bring hope. Finally, the theme “One earth, our voice, your choice” was embedded into the day and the release of the Peace Doves echoed our responsibility to make a change.
The girls who attended also have provided some reflections from the day:
Alia T (Year 7) - My day at Cabramatta High School was amazing, the wonderful speeches and excellent performances were so interesting and fun to watch.
Neha P (Year 11) - The experience was eye opening as I was able to see the many ways we can help and voice our opinions regarding the environment. The day as a whole was an amazing experience filled with celebrations of cultures which was great to witness.
Emily W (Year 11) - Naomi’s wisdom and passion on the issue was inspiring and her depth of knowledge definitely opened my eyes up to many things I had not considered when it comes to climate change. A key point that I took away from the day, was that as a young person, the issue of climate change is going to affect me more than it will my parents or grandparents, and therefore it is the responsibility of the younger generation to use our voices to make a change in the world, before it is too late. The quote or theme of the day “One earth, our voice, your choice” reflects the idea that, as young people in a world becoming more greatly affected by climate change, it is our job to stand up and do the best we can to save it.
Siana U (Year 7) - I enjoyed the overall spirit, justice and action that was going to be taken from the Naomi Klein and Peace Day. I also had the privilege to ask Mrs Klein a question. Since she is a social activist, I asked her how can she remind the local, national and international public about transformative change to the natural world. She responded by informing everyone about going to organisations online and making a donation. For example: Greenpeace. She also told me the work she did with them. She inspired all of us to take action and stand tall for the world.
Monique P (Year 11) - After attending the Peace Day at Cabramatta High School, I now feel more responsible for my actions concerning justice towards the environment as I have realised that climate change is a long term issue that I will continue to live with as I grow up and it isn't a problem just for the next generation to deal with.
Shermie S (Year 9) - Peace Day was a truly new and unique experience for me. As I have never participated in a day such as this, I felt quite honoured to have gone and represented our school with some peers. The day was truly indescribable and a very memorable one as well with many different presentations and performances relating to the peace day. The guest speaker Naomi Klein was quite inspirational and when she was describing her work it truly hit me that we should start bringing peace to each other and start looking after our earth. Overall, it is quite a worthwhile event to attend and I recommend future students to go and participate.
Kayla I (Year 9) - This excursion was a really good experience for me. I got very insightful information about climate change from Naomi Klein and the performances at the school were very eventful.
Abby M (Year 9) - Upon our arrival at Cabramatta high school, we were warmly welcomed with open arms by students of the school, all wearing their own cultural dress. They were very welcoming and I feel all of us attending from St Patrick's were impressed with the range of ethnic diversity and the openness the school offers to their community. The presentation made by Naomi was presented in the form of an interview, given by the new leaders of Cabramatta High School. Naomi talked about many informative issues, but the one which stood out the most was when she talked about the beauty of our heritage site, the Great Barrier Reef. She made it clear that due to climate change, one of Earth's greatest features and Australian’s special landmark, is being destroyed. This was shortly followed by watching an amazing short film, that was presented in a song, showing beautiful images of our world. Upon the closing of the event, over 100 doves were released representing Earth's peace and freedom. All in all, I'm sure I can speak for all the girls that it was a highly informative and enjoyable day. Thank you to Ms Boulatsakos for driving the College bus to get us there and home safely.
Maria Boulatsakos - Teacher
What's On ...
Image courtesy of Joshua Combes - Creative Arts Coordinator
18 November - Middle School Dance, International Games Day, CDF Sports Award Night
23 November - Year 10 Aquatics Day
25 November - Year 9 Forensics Incursion, Year 10 Community Service Incursion, Aboriginal Education Excursion, Creative and Performing Arts Night
28 November - Year 10 HSC Preliminary Readiness "All my own work"
30 November - "The Challenge" (CAPA), Instrumental Students End of Year Recital
1 December - Year 7 Vaccinations (HPV)
2 December - Year 10 Mathematics G/T Excursion, Year 11 Aboriginal Studies Excursion
6 December - End of Year Awards and Assembly, End of Year Mass, Students Finish for 2016
8 December - Staff finish for 2016
31 January 2017 - Students return for 2017