Volume 29 Issue 2 - 24 February 2017

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox - Principal

This Saturday we are hosting our annual open day. There will be many activities and displays at the College which will showcase the wonderful opportunities available to the girls enrolled. We have many students who will take parents and girls on tours of the site and as well we have our new facilities open for all to see. Please come along if you would like to view the College. Perhaps there are friends or family who are considering St Patrick's for their high school years? Bring them along or let them know we are open on Saturday 25 February from 10am until 2 pm.

I have no doubt you will have heard the furore in the press around the requirement that Year 9 students 2017 need to attain band 8 in NAPLAN to be eligible to achieve the HSC in 2020. I would like to highlight that this is a level of achievement in Year 9 that the girls can use in three years' time for their HSC. What concerns me, is the pressure and angst that this is causing in the outside community which, in turn, will impact on the young people sitting for their NAPLAN in May this year. Whilst I suspect there will be a number of Year 9 girls who will not achieve band 8 in all parts of the exam this year, I am confident they will achieve the required benchmark at some point in the subsequent three years so that they will be eligible for the HSC in 2020. Maintaining standards and rigour in the HSC through NAPLAN is important, however there is equal value in continuing to work on important skills across the board, that are not represented in the NAPLAN exam. Our girls will be prepared and will continue to have learning experiences that build their skills and expertise across all areas.

In this new digital age, we embrace the many ways we can communicate to our parents and community, on a daily basis. For many of our new parents joining the College Community, our official Facebook page is filled with real-time classroom pictures, inspirational quotes for students and parents, reminders about special events and dates to save, educational articles and celebrations of success. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to “like” our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/saintpatrickscollegecampbelltown and read the great posts.

We have also launched our Twitter account and although similar to Facebook in the kind of information we post, many of our staff contribute to this page with what they are doing in class and various articles on girls' education. I encourage you to follow us on Twitter – our handle is @SPC_StPats.

Saturday 18 March is the day of our Emerald Gala Dinner Dance. You are most welcome to join us on the night. The tickets are $110 which is inclusive of music, entertainment, food and refreshments. Tables of 10 are $1,000 which is a saving on each ticket. We will have a number of live and silent auction items, a great raffle and each table will have a mystery box. We hope you will be able to join us. Collect some friends and book a table. It will be a fantastic night if you enjoy good food, good music and entertainment and terrific prizes of varying value. Just call the office and they will assist you with your booking.

We also have a VIP Sneak Preview Cocktail Party for past staff and students of the new building. If you would like to come, please contact the office for the details and leave your details. The event will be held in the Atrium on Friday 31 March from 6pm to 8pm.

We are now well into the term. I imagine all parents will have a desire for their daughter to do well and that they will provide the best support for her to achieve success in her learning.

There is ample evidence to demonstrate that the interaction and involvement of parents in their child’s education has a lasting positive effect on their child’s learning outcomes. How will you support your daughter? What will your support look like? Will you work with her on managing the assessments once the handbooks have been issued? Will you ensure there are minimal distractions and disruptions when she is doing her work at home? Will you insist that the telephone is kept out of the bedroom at night so she has an uninterrupted sleep? Our Year Coordinators and Pastoral Advisors have contacted you via email welcoming you to the year. I encourage you to communicate with them regularly. They will endeavor to respond generally within 24 hours. I also encourage you to attend the evenings we have calendared, as they have important information about how to support your daughter. All staff have a College email address. It is first initial followed by surname then @saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au.

Finally, we have the P&F AGM coming up on Monday 27 March. All positions will be open, so I would encourage you to consider assisting, in some way. The P&F are an enormous support to the College at the different events, so more hands will be greatly appreciated.

I will leave you with a reflection from a Ute prayer

Blessings

Sue Lennox

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.

God Speaks in Many Tongues - Joan Chittister

St Patrick's Welcome Alumnae to Year 11 Information Night

On Wednesday 8 February, St Patrick’s College for Girls hosted an Information Night for Year 11 students and carers. We are always committed to working in partnership with parents in the education of their daughter. As each girl enters Year 11 and 12, there are often many fears and uncertainties held by both the girls and their parents. So the focus of this gathering was to meet and greet, inform and support the journey ahead.

The evening commenced in the tradition of all our College events, with an acknowledgement to country and a prayer. The context was set and then parents and students ventured off in pastoral groups to meet the Pastoral Advisors, who more than likely will be in this role for the girls until the end of Year 12. Pastoral Advisors have an exceptionally important role in the day to day lives of the students and offer practical, academic and pastoral support to your daughters.

The audience were then informed of all the policies and procedures for Preliminary and HSC courses; including College requirements and NSW Educational Standards Authority requirements, the “nuts and bolts” for experiencing success and achieving the best possible outcomes. 

The final and most informative session was the student forum conducted with 10 ex-students. Some students graduated as long as eight years ago and others, two years ago. Each person’s experience of school was unique, as are their personal journeys post school. Here are some of their stories:

  • Some loved school and achieved excellent results, others not so much.
  • Some were actively involved in all school activities and many curricular activities, others not so.
  • Some achieved expected results, others were somewhat disappointed, but not surprised.
  • Some encountered personal hardship with poor health and/or bereavement during Year 12.
  • Some started University and have either deferred or changed path or decided that University isn’t for them after all.
  • One started University, hated it, joined the workforce and experienced “on the job training” and many promotions.
  • Another didn’t envision that she would go to University, but her mentor/coach encouraged her and it is the best thing she has ever done.
  • Two took gap years, one to get global experience and the other to do mission work.
  • One chose a non ATAR program at school, but this year is starting University having completed a TAFE qualification, while working.
  • Another knew that she would work in fashion from as early as Year 7, is now doing so and is most successful.
  • Finally, one other decided she was going to be an elite athlete of which she succeeded, but is now pursuing something else.

What was commonly articulated by our guests, was the fact that they felt connected to the community, safe and supported and encouraged to be the best that they could be. Even the girls who said they didn’t like school and could not wait to leave, acknowledged that this was the best place for them and had they gone elsewhere, they believe the story may have been a much different one.

So, a big thank you to the following girls for sharing their story. Taylor Sandiford, Alex McDermott, Rachel Leslie, Nikki McCall, Tanu Vasu, Kaylen Payer, Genevieve Neich, Kerrie Dargan, Esther Adeyinka and Sarah Cantrill. We wish you well in your future endeavours.

Cecely McGeachie – Assistant Principal Learning and Teaching

It's Time To Write

Whitlam Institute - What Matters? Writing Competition

The What Matters? Writing Competition requires students in Year 7 to 12 to write an opinion piece on a social issue that matters to them. The piece needs to be between 400-600 words typed and accompanied by a signed Entry Form, which students can collect from their English Teacher.

Not only is it a great way to get writing and give a voice to an issue that you are passionate about, there are also some great prizes for winning entries. Prizes range from $200 to $350 and each winning entry will be published. For more information please log onto: www.whitlam.org/whatmatters.

Entries Close: Friday 5 May 2017 so it's time to get writing!

Year 7 News

Year 7 experienced their first carnival and demonstrated a very high level of participation. Of particular note were the Year 7 points scramble and Big Sister/ Little Sister points scramble. We have some excellent swimmers in the year group and it was wonderful to watch girls like Bianca R and Layla E compete very strongly, while also watching the non-competitive swimmers get in and get involved.

Below are a few words from Bianca, outlining her experience of the day:

“My morning started off with a stomach full of butterflies because I was nervous, it was my first St Pat’s swimming carnival. I really enjoyed seeing everyone dressed in their house colours and chant for their house. I had a great carnival and did well in all my events, but I especially enjoyed the Big Sister/ Little Sister race and the points scramble. Overall, I had a great day and can’t wait for the next carnival”.

Year 7 continue to adjust well to the College and it is pleasing to see their commitment and involvement developing with each week. As the term progresses, the students will be undertaking their first round of assessments. Combined with homework, this can be a difficult time. Please be mindful of the amount of time your daughter is spending on her homework and assessments and if you have any concerns, please let me know.

Chris Power - Year 7 Coordinator

Lent: A Time to Reflect and Find Balance

This year Ash Wednesday falls on 1 March, which marks the beginning of Lent. “Lent” is the Old English word for “springtime”. Referring to this time of the Church year as Lent (or springtime) makes sense for the northern hemisphere as for us in Australia the first of March marks the beginning of autumn.

Springtime is an appropriate metaphor to apply to the coming of Easter. Spring is the season of new life, growth and rebirth—all of which relate to the story of Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. As a time of preparation, Lent is an opportunity for us to take stock of our lives and deliberately reflect on what we do and who we are.

Please join us for our Ash Wednesday prayer service on 1 March, commencing at 9.00am, in the MSC.

Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator

Let's Move for a Better World

Let’s Move For a Better World is a challenge hosted by Aquafit to combat childhood obesity in the local community. This year they have invited St Patrick’s College to join in the cause. This means that during the challenge period from 13 March to 31 March staff, parents and students will have free access to Aquafit to help raise as many steps as possible towards this initiative. In doing so, our College could win up to $15,000 worth of fitness equipment. 

 

We will be taking our students to Aquafit during their PDHPE lessons during the Challenge period and we would love all staff and parents to be involved,

if you are interested please email me at kcaffrey@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au so that I can arrange a pass for your FREE gym access.

Let's work together to help combat childhood obesity in our local area and have some fun while doing it.

Kelly Caffrey - PDHPE Coordinator

St Pat's Ensemble Begins for 2017

 
The musicians of the St Pat's Ensemble rehearse on Wednesday mornings from 7.45am in the MSC. We play a variety of different music and will start brand new pieces next rehearsal.
 
 
 
 
St Pat's Ensemble 2017

If you play an instrument of any kind and have been learning, for at least a year, we will have a part for you. Contact Mrs Elizabeth Samyia: esamyia@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au for more details or come on a Wednesday morning for a listen and a chat.

Elizabeth Samyia - Music Teacher 

College Open Day

We are currently preparing for Open Day which will be held on Saturday 25 February. We enrol Year 5 students who will begin high school in 2019 and have some vacancies for Year 7 2018 at the moment. If you know of anyone who may consider St Patrick's for their daughter, niece, granddaughter or friend, you may like to let them know of our Open Day.

A night for Caitlin - Trivia Night and Auctions

Dear Students and Community of St Patrick's College

You are invited to attend a trivia and auction fundraising night 'A night for Caitlin' to be held on Saturday 4 March from 7pm to 11pm at West Leagues Club. Caitlin D is a current Year 10 student of St Patrick’s College, who over the past year has been fighting Leukaemia. We have organised this event to help raise money to go toward her ongoing treatment and care. We need your support. There are tables of 10, so we encourage you to get nine friends together and purchase your tickets as a group. Tickets are $25 each, ages 12+.

Email us at anightforcaitlin@gmail.com for ticket sales and questions. Donations can also be made via this email. Follow us on Facebook - A Night for Caitlin.

We appreciate your support.

Campbelltown City Challenge Walk 2017

26th Campbelltown City Challenge Walk at The Australian Botanic Gardens, Mt Annan - Sunday 12 March 2017, for entry form and further details, click here

 

Help for Families from The Benevolent Society

Saver Plus offers low-income parents a free $500 to spend on education costs such as:
Specialty subject costs - uniforms - camps/excursions - computers/laptops/tablets - textbooks - and more!

 

Saver Plus will help low-income families and individuals to:

  • Start a small, regular savings habit
  • Improve their money skills to help manage education expenses, and
  • Reach a savings goal

This national, Government-funded program is totally FREE, with no costs or catches, and has helped over 1,100 local Macarthur parents  improve their money situation. 

Eligible parents join, save for 10 months, attend four money skills workshops and then receive up to $500 free in matched savings.  Parents who hold a Centrelink Healthcare or Pension Card (low income status) could be eligible to join. After 10 months of saving, the FREE $500 MUST be spent on education costs.

Brochure and flier are attached, or follow this link for more information https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/communities-and-vulnerable-people/programs-services/commonwealth-financial-counselling-cfc/saver-plus-fact-sheet

From the Benevolent Society

Important Dates

What's On ...

Image courtesy of Joshua Combes - Creative Arts Coordinator

24 February - PUPIL FREE DAY
24 - 25 February - Year 9 Bronze Duke of Ed Journey
25 February - COLLEGE OPEN DAY
27 - 28 February - Year 7 Camp
28 February - Shrove Tuesday
1 March - Ash Wednesday
3 March - Middle School Dance (MSC), Year 10 Elective, Year 11 & Year 12 History Excursion, International Women's Day Breakfast (MSC)
6 March - CCC Girls Cricket Selections
8 March - Year 7 Twlight Dance at St Gregory's College
9 - 10 March - Year 10 Retreat
10 March - G Day
16 March - Dio Swimming and Tennis
17 March - St Patrick's Day
18 March - EMERALD DINNER DANCE
20 March - CCC Hockey Selections
21 March - Senior School Parent Forum
23 March - Year 10 History Excursion
27 March - Year 7 Vaccinations, P&F AGM
28 March - Year 9 Parent/Student Information Forum
30 March - Year 5 Workshops
31 March - NSW CCC Swimming
7 April - Easter Liturgy, Staff and Students finish for Term 1
24 April - Staff and Students return for Term 2
25 April - ANZAC DAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY
26 -28 April - Year 9 Camp
28 April - Year 7 STEM Day Incursion