From the Principal
Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College
Sue Lennox - Principal
As you would be aware St Patrick’s College is a Good Samaritan College. We are part of a network of Good Samaritan Colleges that are in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. In total there are ten Colleges. Wollongong diocese has three Good Sam schools which are Mater Dei, St Mary Star of the Sea, Wollongong and ourselves. Under Good Samaritan Education we are provided support and guidance in living out and demonstrating the Benedictine values in our communities. More recently, Good Samaritan Education has developed a statement on ‘the Voice and Experience of Women in Leadership’. They are currently financing a research project on how to implement strategies that will enable the core beliefs in the statement to be actualised. It is a very progressive and ambitious statement that provides great leadership and vision for all in the Good Samaritan network. The statement includes a commitment to promote the dignity of women, the encouragement and advancement of full participation of women in the life and mission of the church. It speaks against the marginalisation and discrimination of women and ensuring that women are participating at the highest levels in leadership in Good Samaritan Colleges and governance in Good Samaritan Education. The Good Samaritan Colleges are predominantly girls’ schools, so it is very exciting and affirming that what we always espouse in our rhetoric about the benefit of an all-girls' environment is also modelled in our governance structure. I have included the document for your interest with this edition. When I hear our staff and girls speak and when I see what they do and how they interact, I see the realisation of this document. All that we do at the College is about giving girls and women voice so they are able to fully participate in all aspects of our world. It is my belief that this is why you have chosen St Patrick’s for your daughter. Together we can make a difference in your daughter’s life. What a privilege we have been given. Thank you.
As I write this editorial, I am aware that our Year 12 girls are in the midst of their trial exams. What an ordeal they have had to endure this year! In spite of the stresses and the difficulties, they have been exceptional in their preparation and attention to their studies. As they finish their trials next Monday they will have three and a half weeks remaining before they complete their studies at the College. It is hard to believe this delightful group of young women will be leaving us.
Our greatest fear, once they return to their classes is that they, or someone else in the College, may become a confirmed case of COVID-19 and then they become vulnerable to infection as a close contact or through direct contact. I will send home a letter to all parents next Monday outlining some strategies we will put in place aimed to reduce the risk for Year 12s to the end of the term.
Sadly, last week our Maintenance supervisor, Vince, finished up at the College. He has been a good worker who has coordinated many projects which have improved conditions for all at the College. We wish him well for the future.
In conclusion, we will install our new student leaders this coming week. We will stream the ceremony to the community as COVID-19 regulations have prevented families from being present. I would like to acknowledge the great work of the outgoing team under Imogen’s leadership. They have been very creative in supporting and leading the community in these times. They will now be able to focus for the last few weeks on their studies and the new team will be able to take the reins. We wish both teams the best.
I will leave you with some short words from St Benedict on leadership.
Sue Lennox - Principal
There is no more powerful manner
of leadership than example,
and St Benedict knew this well.
"Anyone who receives the name of abbot (leader)
is to lead his disciples by a twofold teaching:
he must point out to them all that is good
and holy more by example than by words."
The Faith Feed
On 15 August each year, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. It is difficult to put into plain and simple words what this feast day is all about as it is somewhat of a complex concept.
Like any of the beliefs Catholics hold about Mary, the Assumption has less to do with Mary and more to do with God and the work of salvation. Mary is regarded as pure and without sin—even without Original Sin. Mary’s sinlessness is proclaimed by the Catholic belief that Mary was immaculately conceived; that is, Mary is the Immaculate Conception. This is so not because of anything that Mary did; it is wholly the saving work of God (in Latin: “opus dei”). Being sinless, Mary was not subject to death—again a gift God graciously bestowed upon Mary. Therefore, Mary was assumed into heaven by the grace of God who spared her from death. Of course, in one sense Mary merited God’s gifts because she cooperated with God throughout her life. However, the point here is that none of us merit our salvation as it is all God’s doing so long as we are open to receiving God’s grace by entering into a faith relationship with Jesus the Christ.
This Marian Feast is also a lesson for us in what awaits us who are believers and followers of Christ. For those who believe, salvation is the process of being brought into ever closer relationship with Jesus who is for us the means of being draw to fullness of life. The Letter to the Ephesians states, “That according to the riches of God’s glory, Christ may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” The phrase “the riches of God’s glory” refers to God’s gifts (“riches”) to those who believe. Mary received God’s riches in abundance and in turn Luke’s gospel notes that “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Mary’s heart is filled with faith.
For us the significance of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary is that, allowing “Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith”, we too will be granted eternal life. The Letter to the Ephesians also calls us to be “grounded in love,” so that we “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Indeed Mary is filled with the fullness of God; let us follow her example so that we may follow her destiny.
Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator
The 2020 liturgical year has compelled us to rethink prayer, worship, and spirituality at St Patrick’s College.
One example of having to rethink spirituality at St Patrick’s was the delivery of senior retreat experiences. Because of the need for social distancing, outside venues could not be used for events such as retreats. Fortunately, the Year 10 girls had experienced their usual retreat before the pandemic restrictions were applied. Unfortunately, Year 11 and 12 have missed out on their usual retreat experience. In place of the Year 12 Retreat, a modified program was delivered which commenced at 9.00am and concluded at 7.00pm. This time frame offered the Year 12 girls the opportunity to experience a select number of core activities drawn from the usual three day program. With times for discussion, reflection, interaction, shared meals, and prayer, the Year 12 girls participated enthusiastically in the revised program. Accordingly, Year 11 girls will soon participate in a Reflection Day which will engage them in the main themes of what would have been their usual three day Retreat.
Similarly, we have had to reimagine the Year 10 Community Service Program. In Term 1 this year, a group of Year 10 girls were able to complete their Community Service during the five weeks before online learning commenced. This meant that three Year 10 groups have not been able to undertake direct Community Service. In place of direct engagement in Community Service, in Term 4 we have planned a new program for the remaining three groups. The revised program will operate at the College whereby each Tuesday afternoon the girls will investigate different service providers so as to gauge what is available in the broader community. This program will be supported with information from and connection to the Sydney Archdiocese Catholic Office of Justice and Peace. Towards the end of Term 4, in conjunction with the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Year 10 girls will direct their efforts at preparing the Christmas Hampers which our College traditionally offers to the local community.
Another adjustment we have had to make to the prayer life of the College is to the Tuesday morning Chapel Prayer. This has gone virtual, so that each Tuesday morning a prayer is emailed to all members of the St Patrick’s community. In this way, while ever we are unable to gather together in one physical space, we can still be connected via the praying of one common prayer. The advantage with going to a virtual chapel prayer is that anyone can pray the prayer at a convenient time throughout the day. There is also the matter of no singing allowed during this time of pandemic.
Despite all the adjustments we are having to make to the way we pray, the research is suggesting that there is a lot more prayer happening these days. That is a wonderful thing, praise God.
Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator
Learning and Teaching
This weekend, HSC Language Speaking Exams start across NSW.
This year we have four students sitting these exams. Jarian H, Maureen I and Karina M will be completing the Japanese Continuers this Saturday and Toni E will sit her Modern Greek Exam the following weekend.
We wish the girls the best of luck and hope that all the hard work and effort will pay off.
Julian Nash - LOTE Coordinator
The College Library
Learning is not limited to the classroom. Study is not just done the night before a test. Both of these are ongoing practices, enhanced by good habits and routine. See which of these five Ps you do.
PREPARE: This is where you ensure you have all of the materials you need for learning and have completed any pre-tasks such as reading sections of your textbook in advance or anything else your teacher asks you to complete prior to the class.
PARTICIPATE: Engaging in your learning is the best way to start to cement it in your memory and ensure you understand. Having the opportunity to discuss and interact and complete different styles of learning activities really helps your brain to process what you are learning.
PLAN: Time management is key here. Take the time to look at the assessments for the course and plan when you will start, work on and complete tasks. Anytime you are asked to complete work for class, plan when you will do it and write your plan into your diary or online planner.
PRACTICE: One of the best ways to learn is to do practice questions. When you apply what you have learnt, you will engage retrieval and cognitive pathways in the brain, reinforce your learning and discover areas that need extra study.
PINPOINT: After a test or assessment is returned to you, celebrate your successes but also pinpoint any areas of weakness. This allows you to then spend time building your strengths in these areas without the pressure of an exam looming.
The College Library
The Library is offering a 'Click and Collect' service, so students can still borrow library books, even though they may not be able to come in to the Library at the moment. It's just like Click and Collect at Woolies...only cheaper!
A happy Click and Collect customer!
To ensure our students can still get their hands on their favourite books and magazines, the Library has established a 'Click and Collect' Service. Students can log in to the online Library Catalogue (Destiny Discover) from the Library website, browse through the catalogue and reserve an item. Students will receive an email advising their item is ready, and collect it from the signed window at the Library (near the rose garden). This service ensures our students continue to have full access to all items in the Library, while minimising contact in what is a very highly-utilised area. We have had dozens of girls use the service in the last two days, and while it has prompted smiles and suggestions, it reminds them of a McDonalds Drive-Thru window. It is working an absolute treat!
The College Library
Did you know the College Library has a great variety of magazines for students to borrow? We have something for everyone...
Just a couple of magazine titles in the Library
We have a magazine to cater for every student’s interest or activity, including:
- Art – Artlink and Artist Profile magazines cover contemporary art and ideas, with a focus on Australia and the Asia-Pacific region
- Teen Wellbeing – Teen Breathe, Frankie and KIT are three gorgeous magazines with a focus on mindfulness, mental health, fashion, photography, health and relationships, and being your best self
- Science / Technology – Double Helix, Science Illustrated and Wired magazines are ideal for students with a passion for science, discovery, technology and maths.
- Manga / Anime – Neo Magazine is a treasure trove celebrating Anime, Manga and Japanese popular culture.
- Dance – Dance Australia magazine is compiled by dance journalists across the country. It covers ballet, contemporary dance, music theatre and dance education.
- Cooking – Delicious Magazine is just that…delicious! Every issue packed with tempting and achievable recipes that remind us all of the joy of cooking.
- Books / Reading – Good Reading and Spine Out are digital magazines found on the Library website. These magazines help readers around Australia discover the best authors, books and writing from here and across the globe.
- Global affairs - New Internationalist digital magazine can also be found on the Library website, and is an excellent source for current global affairs concerning politics, climate change, economics and human rights and justice.
Magazines can be reserved online through Destiny Discover, and available for pick up at the Library's new Click and Collect Window.
The College Library
Once again, the debators at St Patrick's have been very busy competing in CSDA, MISA and History Debating. Here is an update on results:
CSDA Round Four
On Friday 14 August, we hosted St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove online via Zoom for our final debate of the CSDA season. Prior to Friday, our training session focused on the use of high modality vocabulary to increase the impact of an argument, as well as the revision of all feedback that had been provided by adjudicators for the season thus far. When Friday night came along, several teams were able to use this new skill of high modality to their advantage. This week, we had two different topics:
- 7-10: That TikTok should be stopped
- Senior: That we are on the verge of a revolution
These were highly relevant and challenging topics that required maturity and a critical mindset to tackle adequately. It was pleasing to hear the adjudicators praise our rebuttal, as the ability to listen and critically summarise the argument of the other team was evident across multiple debates. This week, we won five of the ten debates. Congratulations to the 7A, 8A, 10A, 10B and Senior A for their wins. A special mention to Romina A, Meghan W and Emeline L of 8A who, after winning all their debates this season, have the opportunity to attend the CSDA Semi-finals (details to come). We have a number of staff to thank for their support - Mr Duncan, Miss Bella, Ms Lennox, Mr Gattone, Miss Iler and Miss Hilder. Without these staff supporting Miss Bryant and the girls, we wouldn't have been able to enjoy participating in this unique and rewarding CSDA season. Thank you everyone.
Year 8 MISA Round Two
On Monday 17 July, our Year 8 MISA team participated in their Round Two debate against Magdalene Catholic College. Our Year 8 team, consisting of Renee L, Hein J, Olivia M and Abby D, debated the subject of homework over Zoom. While arguing the affirmative for the topic 'that homework is a waste of time', our students built a case surrounding the realistic impact of homework, questioning its application to adult life and the high potential for plagiarism. Unfortunately, we were not the winners of this round, however, the girls received valuable feedback to avoid repetitive arguments and hyperboles which can weaken their case and leave them vulnerable to rebuttal. A great lesson for next time! A big thank you to Miss Hilder for her adjudication and support of Miss Bryant and the girls, and well done to our Madam Chair Jacqueline C for her professionalism in the facilitation of the debate. Our Year 8 squad has a bye for round three, so we are looking forward to their return to debating in September.
Year 9 History Debating
On Friday 14 August, a group of our Year 9 debaters took on the challenge of debating in the Year 11 division of the J.A. Thompson History Debating. The St Pat’s squad consisted of Molly M, Charley L, Isabella W, Caitlin O and Abbey C. The girls debated as the negative team on the topic ‘That Cleopatra betrayed Egypt’ against Emanuel School Randwick. The girls argued that Cleopatra could not have betrayed Egypt as allying with Rome was the best possible option; the one that actively worked to protect Egyptian sovereignty, rather than taking an anti-Roman approach, which could have decimated Egypt all together. They also proved that simply backing the wrong horse (Mark Antony who lost the Roman Civil War to Octavian/Augustus) was no more than a bad policy decision rather than a total betrayal of the nation. In the end, our girls, having withstood a fierce challenge from Randwick walked away with a well-earned victory on the basis that they were more consistent in their refutation and successfully engaged in a tense definitional battle. The girls will now move into the Quarter Final stage of the competition which will be held at a later date.
Year 7 MISA Round Three
On Monday 25 July, our Year 7 MISA team participated in their Round Three debate against John Therry Catholic College. Our Year 7 team, consisting of Eliza F, Orlaith B, Diadem A and Jamie M, debated the negative for the following topic 'That Minecraft should be allowed in schools.’ Our debaters argued that there were more effective teaching tools that did not include Minecraft’s added cost and potential for distraction and engaged well with the affirmatives case. It was pleasing to see our students applying their training by fleshing out their arguments and engaging in well-structured rebuttal. Unfortunately, we were not the winners of this round, however, the girls received valuable feedback to balance conciseness with detail to increase the engagement of their audience. A great lesson for next time! A big thank you to Miss Whitworth for her adjudication and support of Miss Bryant and the girls, and well done to our Madam Chair Lillian J for her professionalism in the facilitation of the debate.
Laura Bryant - Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator
The Government has created a suite of materials that will assist families when looking for information relating to financial help after high school. It provides a range of information to help students learn more about payments they could be entitled to claim.