From the Principal
Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College
Sue Lennox - Principal
Year 12 have now begun their HSC exams. Due to the presence of COVID 19, all schools have put into place a number of risk mitigation measures which will enable their students to participate in their exams to the best of everyone’s ability. At St Patrick’s we have divided the courses of large student numbers, kept the Year 12 girls in their bubble on site and have secured a booking at an alternative site should the College have to be closed due to a confirmed case. These are all strategies which we have never had to prepare for or manage before. Whilst these changes have been necessary for the security of all in our community I am very grateful, that in comparison to other countries and even states in Australia, New South Wales is in a very fortunate position. We all hope that with these measures in place the girls will be able to focus on ensuring they provide their best in their exams. We will keep them in our prayers.
Sadly, during the holiday break our Parents and Friends President Jeff Pollard passed away. Jeff had been battling cancer for several years however that never stopped him from being an active and vibrant parent in the parent communities of the schools his girls were enrolled in. As the previous President of the P&F at St Justin’s and then for the last three years at St Patrick's, Jeff has been a person who has greatly contributed to the life and experience of school for many school children. We certainly are very grateful for his generous and devoted support over the three years. Please keep Helen, Jeff’s wife, and their daughters in your prayers as they manage life now without their beloved husband and father.
In the coming month the College will begin a third stage of building. This project will be to improve the streetscape, access and safety of the site for the community. The construction will include a kiss and drop on St John’s Road, security gates around the entire site and a purpose-built entrance for visitors from St John’s Road. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by March 2021. More detail of how the construction phase will impact on the operations of the College will be provided closer to the time, however, I am sure you will be pleased with the outcome.
Thank you for participating in the Parent Teacher interviews that were conducted over the last two weeks. Once again hosted via Zoom, due to government regulations, the opportunity to meet with subject teachers appeared to be well supported by parents. As I walked around the site to see staff engaging in meaningful conversations with parents was very rewarding. We will send out a survey again next week to gather your feedback and will make a determination about the shape of interviews for 2021. Needless to say the format of interviews will be determined largely by the status of the pandemic in the community. If possible, a blended model may be an option to consider for the future.
In the coming weeks we will host the Orientation Day for Year 7 2021. It is hard to believe we are at that point in the year again and even more unbelievable that we will be able to host the visit of the Year 6 girls onsite. A program has been developed that will be sent to parents in the coming weeks. As the regulations are clear that parents will not be able to come onsite we have prepared a good day for the girls that will give them an insight into the operations of the College.
Please keep free 4 December. We have scheduled the Advent Mass and Awards for the conclusion of the year. Once again, we will live stream this for parents and friends who are not allowed to be onsite due to COVID regulations. The Mass will begin at 9.30am and the awards from 11.00am. A link will be sent to families closer to the date.
Sadly I need to inform you that Mr Bettiol, Assistant Principal Learning and Teaching, will be finishing at the College at the end of the year. We thank him for the dedication and expertise he has brought to the role of Assistant Principal and leadership team member. His kind and thoughtful manner have been valued by staff and students. We wish him the best in his new position which will be closer to home.
I will leave you with a short reflection from Leunig which is titled Prayer to Self. We all could do with a little more self love as we progress through this year of 2020.
Sue Lennox - Principal
Prayer to Self
Gently swing from vine to vine,
Live from day to day,
Turning water into wine,
Loving what you may.
Learn to care and not to care,
Learn how not to know,
Feel your way from here to there,
Let it come and go.
The Faith Feed
Pope Francis published his third encyclical on 4 October after signing it the day before on the tomb of St Francis of Assisi, his namesake and one of the sources of his inspiration for this letter. An encyclical is a "circular letter" to be spread throughout a community. The word comes from the Greek egkyklios, with kyklos meaning a circle.
A papal encyclical is one of the highest forms of communication by the pope and usually deals with some aspect of Catholic teaching — clarifying, amplifying, condemning or promoting one or a number of issues. Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All) is an eight-chapter, 45000 word document that Francis was in the process of writing when the Covid-19 pandemic “unexpectedly erupted”. He argues that the current global situation and response to the pandemic shows the “fragmentation” of the world and the “inability” of countries to work together.
Francis devotes Chapter One titled Dark Clouds Over a Closed World to addressing the socio-political issues in our world including “limitless consumerism”, nationalism, globalism, “globalised indifference”, racism, economic privilege, immigration, social media, war, the death penalty, religious liberty, and religious violence. Francis paints a bleak picture but also calls on the whole world to join him in contributing to the “rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity”. He writes “Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travellers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all”. In this sense Francis builds upon the message of his previous encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You), in which he spoke of care for our common home. In this encyclical he speaks of care for each other, the family that dwells together in the common home.
Francis emphasises the need for true interfaith and cultural dialogue, authentic reconciliation and authentic encounters in order to achieve peace which he argues is a “never-ending task” built on truth, justice and mercy. He condemns the death penalty and draws attention to human trafficking and people living with disabilities who he writes can feel like “hidden exiles” in society. Francis also writes against the use of violence and goes the closest any pope has to changing church doctrine relating to the Just War Theory. He writes “We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits. In view of this, it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war’. Never again war!”. The Parable of the Good Samaritan, which is at the heart of our charism here at St Patrick’s, is analysed by Francis in Chapter Two of the encyclical titled A Stranger on the Road. In his exegesis he stresses that all are called to become neighbours to others like the Good Samaritan, to give time as well as resources, and overcome prejudices, personal interests, historic and cultural barriers.
While Francis has been praised by Catholic activists for his move away from the Just War Theory, he has drawn criticism for his use of gendered and exclusive language in the title and subtitle of this latest letter. A papal encyclical historically is addressed to bishops and priests of a country or region or to all clergy. Or encyclicals can be addressed to all Catholic faithful. Francis has stated that his encyclicals are not just for believers but for the whole human family. Catholic women around the world, however, have been insulted and disappointed due to the exclusive language used and have raised concerns about the potential harm for women in many cultures and nations as a result of this letter. One such critic, Phyllis Zagano, an internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and lecturer on contemporary spirituality, made valid points within her article published in the National Catholic Reporter. She explains that the title Fratelli Tutti which translates to Brother’s All eliminates women. The fact that this title comes from the writings of St Francis does not change the exclusive nature of the language which is masculine or for men. The Vatican has argued that the subtitle is inclusive as it is dedicated to “fraternity” and “social friendship”. Zagano points out that again this word which means “brotherhood” is masculine and excludes women. She argues further that if these masculine words are truly inclusive then the use of “men” and “male” in Canon Law should also then be inclusive and refer to women. The example she uses to illustrate her point further and the importance of language is Canon 1024 that reads “A baptised male alone receives sacred ordination validly”. Here it becomes clear that the church and the pope need to seek the involvement of female members of the faith when creating and reviewing church documents. Our Congregational Leader Sister Patty Fawkner recently expressed her views about the language used in the encyclical despite acknowledging Pope Francis as someone she "admires" and whose leadership she "genuinely appreciates". She shares the perspective of Zagano and does not accept the "excuses that minimise the impact of exclusive language and the reassurances that the intention is to include all. Yet again, good intentions are not good enough".
Louise East - Religious Studies Coordinator
On Tuesday 20 October Year 7 gathered in the Therry Wing to celebrate a grade liturgy—an opportunity for the year group to pray together. The theme of the communal prayer focused on our Benedictine values for this year: Pax (Peace) through the lens of Justice and Stability.
As is usually the case with grade liturgies, two students from Year 7 were invited to write and deliver a reflection based on the Bible passages read during the liturgy. On this occasion, Holly B and Mackenzie Q accepted this opportunity and they both delivered excellent, thoughtful reflections. The following is what the girls reflected upon:
When I think of 2020, I think of a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. We have all been through so much this year, both as a grade and as individuals. Looking on the bright side, thankfully we are at St Pat's during this pandemic, juggling school, friendships and our own personal struggles in our first year of high school. Sure, it’s not exactly something to be excited about, but looking back on it in 50 or so years, we can be proud that we, as a St Patrick's community, have all grown closer through this crazy time together.
Online learning was definitely a little different than our normal Monday to Friday, to say the least. While we all adapted to zoom calls and found ways to stay connected, the world around us changed rapidly. At times, fear and uncertainty clouded my mind, but with strength and faith, I was able to both accept the change and learn to cope in the difficult climate that soon became our normal. It’s crazy to think that almost 10 months ago, I walked through the front gates of St Patrick’s College for the very first time. We were given around 9 weeks to transition into this new world and learn where all our classes were before we were sent into lockdown.
All of a sudden, we began to value the importance of friendship and connectedness more than ever. Who knew I would actually miss the aggressive competition to get to your locker in the afternoon, or the sprint to class, from one end of the school to the other. We had to find new ways to entertain ourselves, and I don’t know about all you, but my screen time went through the roof. Now look at us, in the beginning weeks of term 4, and the time has flown. It feels like almost yesterday I was sitting at my desk, attending zoom meetings every hour, and being put in awkward break out rooms.
In the first reading, we learn that even if the mountains and the hills and everything else seemingly important disappears, God's love for us will never leave, it will always remain strong. Even through tough times, like we experienced earlier this year, and continue to face, God will always love us, no matter who we are or what choices we make. Then, in the second reading, God tells us to show mercy, to be kind and humble and to forgive those who have wronged us.
In these times, community is more important than ever, and our relationships with others may have become strained, which makes our faith and trust in God necessary. As made aware in our readings today, we must find peace and love in all we do, to ensure our community is one of loving embrace, kindness and hospitality to all.
Our year thus far has been quite an eventful one and I believe that, through these tough times, we have been given a great opportunity, to learn more about ourselves, to spend more time with our families and to also recognise our strength as a community. My Year 7 experience has been not only different, but also valuable, and one I wouldn’t change for the world.
Throughout the liturgy, which included a brief time of meditation, all of the Year 7 girls responded enthusiastically and entered respectfully into each part of the prayer together. St Pat’s offers the girls opportunities such as these so that they may bond as a year group and experience a strong sense of community which is very important during a year such as 2020 has been.
Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator
During the recent Staff Spirituality Day, several staff developed a garden in the school with a focus of PAX “Peace” in mind.
The garden has been named “Kizuna”, which is a Japanese word meaning “connections”. The aim of this garden will be an area for staff and students to connect, whether it be with their thoughts, with friends or a chance to relax as they enjoy the space, listen to the water feature and look at the fish and plants. Students have really enjoyed this area as a place to stop and reflect. We look forward to the coming weeks as the flowers start to bloom and the plants start to grow.
International Day of the Girl was on 11 October, and was created by the United Nations in 2012 to celebrate the achievements and potential of girls.
The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
The day focuses on girls because of the disproportionate gender-based discrimination that girls face every day.
Thank you to Mia C, Ava P and Sophie A for the voice overs.
Danielle Grant - Community Engagement Officer
Learning and Teaching
Due to Coronavirus, our traditional face-to-face parent/student/teacher interviews looked different this year and it seems to be vauled by many.
Parents, students and teachers had met virtually this term using video conferencing software Zoom, as parents are still banned from school grounds as a social distancing measure to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Parents of our Year 7 to 11 girls were able to select booking times most convenient for them between 3.30pm and 7.30pm and communicate with each of their daughter's subject teachers from the convenience of their own home.
Although face-to-face meetings do allow more interaction, statistics showed that more parents were able to attend online meetings.
The silver lining of the whole pandemic is that we are more familiar with video conferencing technology and not afraid to use it more often and we as a school have found new and innovative ways to communicate with our parents and ensure that they stay updated with their child’s academic status.
Chris Bettiol - Assistant Principal Learning and Teaching
DCJ is offering scholarships to young people enrolled in education or training to help complete their studies.
How much is the scholarship?
Each scholarship for the 2021 school year is $1,000 (no GST included as this is a grant payment).
Who can apply for a scholarship?
You are eligible to apply if you are:
living in social housing (which includes public, community or Aboriginal housing), on the NSW Housing Register, receiving private rental assistance from DCJ, living in crisis/supported accommodation, or living in out-of-home care
studying in Year 10, 11 or 12 at a NSW high school or HSC equivalent at TAFE, or completing a school based apprenticeship or traineeship, or studying a VET subject at school in 2021.
What can I use the scholarship for?
The scholarship funds must be used for educational or support related costs to help you complete the school year. You can choose how you spend the money, so long as you buy things that will help you to complete your studies. You will also need to keep the receipts of the items that you buy with the scholarship funds as DCJ may ask you for proof of your purchases. The lists below provide you with an idea of what you might want to buy.
When can I apply for a scholarship?
Applications open at 9:00am on Thursday, 15 October 2020 and close at 5:00pm on Friday, 19 February 2021. Late applications will not be accepted.
How do I apply for a scholarship?
You must have a valid personal email address, do not use a school email address. This email address will be used to register and receive updates about your application so make sure that you can access and check this email regularly.
1. Visit www.facs.nsw.gov.au/dcj-scholarships to access the SurveyMonkey Apply application link.
2. Set up an account and create a password.
3. Complete the pre-eligibility questions.
4. Complete all relevant sections of the online application form.
5. Complete the Applicant Support task:
You will need to nominate a school staff member (principal, welfare teacher, school administration manager, teacher, year advisor etc.) to complete an online Recommender form to support your application.
6. Review your application and click Submit.
The Fisher's Ghost Art Award is a competition that is held annually, hosted by the Campbelltown Art Centre. 2020 marks this 58th year of this show and this year we are fortunate enough to have some Year 7 works on display, representing St Patrick's College.
St Patrick's College works on display
The Fisher's Ghost Art Exhibition showcases a variety of local artist's works and opens on 31 October and closes on 11 December. This year the following students have been selected to display their work in this exhibition and represent our College.
Congratulations to Oreoluwa A, Valentina V, Ella-Maeve M, Deborah F, Phoebe H and Mia S of Year 7 and Yasmin W of Year 8.
Their beautiful Still Life artworks created for our Year 7 unit 'Food, Glorious Food!' will be up for all audiences to see. We encourage you to support our local artists (especially our St Patrick's College artists) and go and see the exhibition at the Campbelltwon Art Centre.
Further details can be found on the Campbelltown Art Centre's website: Campbelltown Arts Centre
Marcus Fitzpatrick - Visual Arts Teacher
The College Library
Can you solve the clues in our Whodunnit mystery?
Can you solve the clues in our Whodunnit mystery?
During Term 4 students are invited to discover notable personalities in the fields of History, Literature, Science, The Arts and Sport as we delve into works of biography, autobiography and memoir from our Library Collection.
Check out the Library display windows to learn inspirational true stories about strong, brave, determined and resilient women. There will also be weekly quizzes and guessing games and the opportunity to win prizes.
Each week the Library display windows will present a new clue to solve in our Whodunnit mystery, then in Week 6 you will have the chance to solve the mystery and win a major prize.
To enter the weekly quiz go to the SPC Library page and click on the Whodunnit Quiz button. (Hint: you will find the answers to the quiz in the display.) Good Luck!
The College Library
On Tuesday 20 October the College Library celebrated International School Library Day.
As school librarians we like to think that we provide a welcoming, friendly and helpful environment for all students, whatever their needs. Whether they are studying, looking for resources for assessments or for their next great read, we want to be their first port of call. And for the quieter students or those yet to find their feet, we hope that our Library provides a safe haven to chill out or find some like-minded friends.
But it doesn’t really matter what we think, what matters is how our students view the Library and how it makes them feel. So for International School Library Day we asked our school community to provide their thoughts on the best things about the College Library as well as any improvements they could suggest for the future.
In addition to the students who kindly filmed their comments for us (thanks to Caroline, Emersyn, Olivia, Minduli, Vienne and Gabby) we received a number of other responses via our International School Library Day Google Forms questionnaire. Our school community told us they love the friendly, helpful and kind Library staff. They love the variety of books and resources, they love the welcoming environment and being able to bring their food in to the Library during lunch and recess.
As to improvements our students, have requested more books and an even bigger library with more space, so even more students can enjoy hanging out in here – we won’t argue with that!
It is lovely to hear that we are on the right path and having a positive impact in our school community. The Library staff celebrated the day by unveiling our “Team Library” tshirts which featured a not so subtle message on the back, “Come to the Library, we have the answers”.
To see the videos from the day please check out the College Library Instagram page @saintpatrickscollegelibrary.
The College Library
We live in a connected world and we can’t turn the clock back and take away all these fun new technological tools. So the message is, we need to learn to take care of our brains and take some small proactive steps to avoid a potential iDisorder.
iDisorder Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us
Dr Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, has authored a book titled 'iDisorder: understanding our obsession with technology and overcoming its hold on us'. In this book he discusses the following ideas:
Ensure you get a full night’s sleep and that mobile phones are switched off during the night and ideally in a different room. If you wake in the night and check your phone, however briefly, this will interrupt the sleep patterns for that night and disrupt essential memory processing.
Convene regular family dinners (3-4 times a week for 30-40 minutes) where technology is forbidden at the table – parents included! Dr Rosen points to the fact that many parents are also obsessed with technology and are modeling these behaviours to their children.
Given the pervasive nature of technology in our lives as well as the fact that technology evokes high levels of mental activity, we need to start taking technology ‘time-outs’ to reset our brains and refresh our capacity to process information. It is important to recognise that the constant lure of multiple technologies and our obsession with them is overloading our brain. If we want to avoid iDisorder and ensure our use of technology does not make us exhibit signs and symptoms of psychological disorders, then we need to reset our brain on a regular basis. You may decide to take a 10 minute break from technology every two hours or you may even decide to allocate at least one day a week where you focus your attention 100% on real life and shut off your technology for a significant portion of that day. During this time you could laugh or talk with friends or family, experience nature or do something active. The aim is to give the brain a chance to slow down and rest by doing something that does not involve electronic devices.
The College Library
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month - a time to come together to raise awareness, share resources, and tell stories about dyslexia successes.
Some of the Library's 'Quick Reads'
The Library has a broad selection of books specifically formatted to assist dyslexic readers. These books have unique fonts especially created to make reading easier, and are usually around or under 100 pages in length. Additionally, the spacing and layout of the text, as well as the weight of the paper (with a slight tint) has been produced to reduce visual stress. The dyslexia-friendly books in our Library (or those preferred for challenged readers) have a blue 'Quick Reads' sticker on the spine. They can also be found via our online catalogue in Destiny Discover, under the subject heading 'Quick Reads'.
eBooks and Audiobooks are also great for our dyslexic or challenged readers. St Pat's offers ePlatform by Wheelers app, free for all students, and downloadable to any device. Once borrowed, eBook settings can be changed to support dyslexic readers - such as changing the font to a clean, sans-serif font such as Arial or Gothic, increasing font size, changing the letter or word spacing, and choosing a tinted coloured background. As always, the Library team is available for assistance.
The College Library
Congratulations to Charlotte F (Year 10) who was acknowledged as the West Leagues Club Youth Sportsperson for August.
This award is targeted at athletes between 12 and 16 years from any club/association or sport in the Macarthur region that has demonstrated an outstanding achievement/contribution to their sport in the current season. Charlotte was nominated by Bringelly Netball Club. Congratulations Charlotte on this prestigious award.
Scott Ashcroft - Sports and Activities Coordinator
Last term, the Environment Council launched the project #LetsPutOurWasteInTheRightPlace.
This initiative was to empower our students to be engaged in environmental stewardship practices at the College. The students of the Council raised awareness to build a better understanding of recycling. For two weeks there was a specific ‘item’ students could bring in to ‘donate’ to the waste collection point for further distribution and recycling. In conjunction, the students could bring in Return and Earn items to build up our collection points.
A big thank you to 7B who donated the most items each week, 9B who brought in the most plastic lids and 10B with their plastic bottles. Those students received a sweet treat for their efforts. Also Prapti S from Year 9 and Jess T from Year 7 were awarded for their efforts with their consistent donations. This is an opportunity to learn more about sustainability and how to save our planet through small acts of kindness for our world.
This term we are encouraging the students to donate more return and earn items in the hope to adopt a threatened species with the money raised. Miss Hilder will be assisting me with the facilitation of the group and has written a beautiful piece to encourage our girls to join the group and become Active Green Thumbs of the St Pat’s community.
"We showed that we are united and that we, young people, are unstoppable."
We know the importance of taking care of our planet, and as stewards of the Earth it is our responsibility.
Environment Club will be starting this Wednesday and will provide a place for you to support your college community and take action to help heal our planet. We are looking for new members to join our club.
With a strong focus on recycling and looking for ways we can help our world through education and support, we need future leaders from all grades to join us to help make a positive change in our world. We are hoping for at least 6 from each grade 7-9, and a small team from Year 10 and Year 11. So grab a few friends and come along.
Be the change you want to be… and remember one small action can change the world.
Maria Boulatsakos and Sarah Hilder - Teachers
2020 has been the most fruitful year in the Knitting Group’s 14-year history. Together in total the Knitting Group made: 154 items. This included 83 blankets, 41 scarves, 2 shawls and 1 baby outfit.
Olivia and Layla and their awards
Approximately 40-50 students meet each Thursday lunch to knit squares which become blankets for the less fortunate in our local community.
In 2020, the Knitting Group has had to change its regular practices. We would normally have a host of ex-staff and friends of the College come and work with the girls each week. This year our knitting helpers have been supporting us from home knitting and assembling blankets together. Most of the girls at school have been working on joining the squares together and sewing the 'Handmade With Love by St Patrick's College Knitting Group' labels onto the blankets and scarves.
Each year the group holds an annual mid winter presentation of blankets to the St Vincent de Paul Society and we often have guest speakers from the organisation. Due to Covid we were unable to have our normal speakers from St Vincent de Paul and Ms Lennox generously came and spoke to the group. She was impressed by the array of blankets and thanked the girls for their dedication and for living out true Benedictine values.We also thank Mr Julian Nash for taking photos of our presentation, something that he has done for many years.
Our representative from St Vincent de Paul, Jane Willoughby, sent the following note of thanks to the group:
"Lately we have not had many requests from our welfare due to the covid and extra payments being received. So we are taking a different approach. There are people who do not ask for any help but may be lonely or struggling in some way. So, the other day we decided that Betty (name changed) would greatly benefit from the kindness given from you and your wonderful team’s special blankets.
Betty shops with us several times a week, walks with the aid of a stick, not too well and struggles to get in and out of her car. Her family rarely visit her and she lives with her cat, so Betty is a very lonely lady. Her trips to our shop are a big part of the week for her. She chats and laughs with us and buys bits n bobs. Betty was so touched by the gift that she gave us all a card of thanks and gratitude. This gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness has touched her heart.
There is no greater feeling to know that you have helped put a smile on faces that have been hardened by sadness.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share special moments with people in need and offering comfort in somewhat difficult times.’’
Our knitting champion for 2020 was Olivia L in Year 10 who produced two whole blankets and countless numbers of squares with Layla E as runner up. Special effort awards were awarded to Charlotte D, Georgia D, Yuhan W, Laura Z, Bronwyn Z, Cora W, Ava R, Annabelle L, Isabelle S and Yukiko W.
We wish to thank the 30 knitting ‘ladies’ who are either staff, ex-staff, ex-students, parents, grandmothers or friends of the College who continue to send in squares, blankets or complete edging for the group: Judith Andrews, Carol Best, Lynn Carlin, Leonie Corlett, Nola Cornhill, Delwyn Costa, Margaret Cutler, Maxine Evans, Glenda Gaskell, Sarah Hilder, Cathay Johnson, Chanlina Lam, Evelyn Loh, Marian Martin, Maureen McCann, Janine McLeod, Jean Mills, Shirley Mills, Diane O’Brien, Maureen O’Brien, Sue Ollis, Pam Poole, Jenny Slade, Betty Small, Lorraine St John, Lisa Tacca, Jan Vacchini, Annalisa Winarczyk, Lucette Zapirain and Sandra Zapirain.
Fran Musico Rullo - HSIE Teacher