Volume 32 Issue 21 - 20 November 2020

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox - Principal

We hosted the Orientation Day for Year 7 2021 this week. How buoyant and exuberant the girls were! It was a great day to have the girls with us and walk them through the site. It was unfortunate that regulations precluded us from hosting the parents as well, but it was pleasing to note that the girls were not perturbed. In time, we will be able to have the parents onsite again and life will hopefully return to some sort of normal.

We sadly will be farewelling Mrs Arena at the end of this term. Mrs Arena has worked at the College for 19 years. In that time, she has been a PDHPE teacher, but also had some time as a Year Coordinator and Acting PDHPE Coordinator. We wish her the best as she embarks on a career change. She has contributed much to our community in her time. Sadly, we will also be farewelling some staff who have been with us for at least a year on temporary contracts: Mr Fitzpatrick, Mrs Bleyerveen, Miss Lee and Miss Whitworth. They have been outstanding contributors to our community and we are very grateful for their contributions. We wish them well for their future.

We are very excited that the changes in regulations has meant we can all gather in the Mary Sheil Centre on 4 December for our final mass and awards ceremony. Unfortunately, parents are still not allowed onsite, due to regulations, however, we will stream both events live so you can view this online. A link will be sent closer to the day.

In the coming weeks, you will receive your daughter’s report. I would like to acknowledge the work of the teaching and non-teaching staff in preparing these for you. Many hours have been devoted to this report to provide you with an overview of how your daughter is progressing at this point in time. Please read it with your daughter. Praise and affirm for achievements she has made whether they are large or small. Have a further conversation about the disappointments on the report.  Please contact the College if you have any questions.

I will leave you with a prayer that will welcome advent on 29 November.


Sue Lennox - Principal 

God of Love,
Your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.
He is a sign of your love.
Help us walk in that love during the weeks of Advent,
As we wait and prepare for his coming.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior.

Author unknown

Advent and the Jesse Tree

The liturgical season of Advent begins this year on Sunday 29  November and concludes on 24 December. The Advent season is filled with preparation and expectation. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning in preparation for family to visit. Too often, however, we are so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity: the Word made flesh coming to dwell among us. Christians are urged to preserve the spiritual focus of Christmas amidst the prevailingly secular and consumer-driven society.

In the midst of the busyness of the season, let us strive to keep Advent a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and hope, meditating often on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on flesh. In our shopping and baking, let us remember to purchase and prepare something for the poor. When we clean our homes, let us distribute some of our possessions to those who lack many necessities. While we are decorating our homes with lights and ornaments, let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Saviour may come to dwell.

Here is an explanation of the history behind the Medieval Christmas Tree or Jesse Tree:

The Jesse Tree dates back to the middle ages and came from Europe. Even some ancient cathedrals have Jesse Tree designs in their stained glass windows. The "tree" is usually a branch or sapling and is decorated with various symbols that remind us of the purpose and promises of God from Creation to the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Jesse was the father of King David and God promised David that his Kingdom would last forever. Two centuries after the death of King David, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-2)

Each Jesse Tree ornament usually consists of a handmade symbol or drawing that represents one of the major stories of the Old Testament along with a brief verse of Scripture from that story.

Louise East - Religious Studies Coordinator.

The Word Of God

Gideons International is an association of Christian business and professional men and women.  They are actively engaged in the free distribution of Christian Scriptures in over 200 countries around the world. Last year over 68 million Bibles and Testaments were given to people of all ages from all walks of life.

If you have ever stayed in a hotel in Australia or anywhere else in the world, you may have noticed that there was a Bible in the room you stayed in. It is highly probable that the Bible was donated to the hotel by Gideons International. It is their way of spreading the Good News without being intrusive. The presence of the Bible in hotel rooms is an invitation to pick it up and read it. Gideons International also distributes Bibles and pocket Testaments to primary and secondary schools. It is worth emphasising that the pocket Testaments are a gift—that is, they are free of charge.

Each year the Gideons International visits St Patrick’s College to offer our Year 8 girls a pocket Testament. In this year of COVID-19, the usual representatives of Gideons International were unable to attend for the distribution of the pocket Testaments because of health restrictions. Nevertheless, the pocket Testaments were duly delivered to the school and on Tuesday 3 November, and after a brief discussion about the contents of the Bible, the Year 8 girls processed forward to receive the gift of the pocket New Testament.

The pocket Testament is a size such that it can be easily carried around in one’s pocket. The introductory pages of the pocket Testament contain interesting information including explanation of Gideon International, an alphabetical list of scripture references to “help with life and its problems”, a section about the Bible, and a section about prayer. The Bible can be for us a guide for living well and inspire us to be people of hope, justice, and love.

Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator


BYOD Program 2021

St Patrick’s College Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program requires families to provide a laptop computer for use at school and at home. This program enables access to College-provided ICT resources including the Wi-Fi network, electronic texts, subscriptions to a range of eLearning materials, printing facilities and software licensing. The BYOD Minimum Specification Advice document is designed to guide families in the purchase of a suitable device.

Parents are able to purchase devices from anywhere and there are a range of devices available that meet our minimum specification. Together with the College Technology team, JB Hi-Fi have created a purchasing portal. Access the JB Hi-Fi Education portal here – https://www.jbeducation.com.au/byod/; Enter School Code: SPCCBYOD. Further information on the JB Hi-Fi is available here

Software and Apps

Families are responsible for the purchase and installation of their own software; however, the following applications are available for students to install on their devices:

Google Suite – The College has deployed G Suite for Education - a host of productivity tools such as Docs, Sheets and Slides. Additionally, Google Drive is used to store and share documents, and Gmail hosts the College’s email. Students download and install Google Backup and Sync to ensure that all class work and assessments are properly backed up.

Microsoft Apps - The College’s Microsoft Licensing Agreement extends to student owned devices. Students can download and install Office 365 via the Office Portal. Students must sign into the portal with their code@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au user account.

Adobe Suite - The College’s Adobe Creative Cloud suite licensing can be extended to student devices. Students request access to this suite through the College online Help Desk.

The College provides several learning portals. The Canvas Learning Management system supports access to learning materials, assessment task resources, and online interactions with teachers.  Sentral Student Portal provides access to important documents, the College welfare system and academic reports. SPC Connect links to the College Daily notices, room changes, and provides a jump page to online services. The Library microsite links to a range of information services including Destiny Discover (catalogue), online books, scholarly databases, Britannica School Online, Study Skills Handbook, ClickView online videos and much more. 

Please feel free to forward any questions you may have regarding our College BYOD program to the eLearning Coordinator (elearning@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au).

Debra Bourne - Leader of eLearning and Library Services


This year NAIDOC week occurred between 8 and 15 November. NAIDOC is an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

This year's theme is 'Always was, Always will be' with strong references to the intrinsic spiritual and cultural connection between Aboriginal peoples and the land. As always, the Aboriginal Studies class from Year 12 2021 organised the NAIDOC assembly and in the class this year are Bindi F, Nekisha B and Wissam M. The girls were responsible for putting the program together, and this included pitching their ideas to our College's executive, organising the filming of the assembly as well as ensuring that girls from a range of year groups were involved as best as possible. The assembly was streamed to the College on 10 November. The Aboriginal Studies class also organised an activity which was completed by every pastoral class in the College. The girls completed a yarning circle type activity in which the theme of NAIDOC was discussed and explored. Each student then got to colour in a footprint, which the Year 12 girls then placed around H Block. Thank you very much to Mr Nash, Mr East and Mr Bettiol for their collective support throughout the process. Thanks must also go to each of the girls involved with the NAIDOC assembly for their efforts, passion and pride that was demonstrated throughout the assembly. Finally, congratulations to the Year 12 2021 Aboriginal Studies class for organising and executing such a well thought out assembly, great job girls!

Christopher Duncan - Aboriginal Liaison Officer


Class of 2020 - Gift to the College

It was fitting as we celebrated NAIDOC Week that representatives of the Class of 2020 were at school to present Ms Lennox with a gift to the College on behalf of their grade. Year 12 students contributed money towards the purchase of this gift and selected the plaque. The plaque is an Acknowledgement of Country and will be hung in a place of importance within the school. It will stand as a reminder that we teach and learn on Dharawal land, which resonates strongly with this year’s NAlDOC theme of ‘Always Was, Always Will Be.’

The plaque was made and purchased from Aboriginal owned design business Kinya Lerrk.

Louise Glase - Year 12 Coordinator


World Kindness Day

Friday 13 November was World Kindness Day 2020.

To mark this special day, Year 8 have been focusing on the theme of kindness and exploring the endless possibilities to be kind.

Did you know kindness can:
- Decrease Stress
- Boost Happiness
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Inspire more Kindness

There are many scientifically proven benefits to being kind which you can watch in this clip:The Science of Kindness

If you find yourself with an opportunity to BE KIND today, we hope you embrace it and pass this on as a random act of kindness. 

Remember, to always be kind to yourself and others around you, not just today but every day.

Maria Boulatsakos - Year 8 Coordinator and on behalf of our Year 8 Students.

Christmas has arrived in the Library

Christmas has arrived in the Library in the form of a giant Advent Calendar and Nativity display.

Our Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar includes 24 fun and easy ways you can give the gift of kindness this Christmas. Everyone is invited to come in to the Library and open a new window each day for some fun Christmas giving ideas.

The Advent Calendar is located with our Nativity display next to the photocopiers in the Library. Or if you'd like to follow along at home you can join us on Instagram @saintpatrickscollegelibrary

The College Library

Bee Garden update...🐝

How does your Bee Garden grow? 


Our prize winners from the Literacy & Numeracy Week quizzes received little Bee Garden packs containing a pot, seeds and information to create a bee-friendly garden. Some packs contained Pansy seeds, others Nemophila, Marigolds or Nigella seeds.

It's now Week 11 and depending on the seeds you received in your pack, you may be starting to see some flowers, like the Marigolds shown here. If not, don't worry, all of the seeds should begin  flowering by 14 - 16 weeks.

We would love to see photos of your Bee Gardens and how they are progressing. If you'd like to share a photo please email Mrs Denford at sdenford@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au

For regular Bee Garden updates join us on Instagram @saintpatrickscollegelibrary

The College Library

Holiday Reading

The summer holidays are almost here and the Library has you covered with some great holiday reading material.

Students are invited to borrow a Holiday Reading Pack over the school holidays. Each pack contains four assorted mystery items – they could include a fiction or non-fiction book, biography, magazine, graphic novel or manga PLUS a candy cane, lollipop and two bookmarks.

While the bookmarks and treats are yours to keep, please be aware that the books will need to be returned by 29 January 2021.

Holiday Reading Packs will be available to borrow from Week 7 (until we run out) and everyone who borrows a pack or a book will also receive an entry in to our Christmas raffle. There will be four lucky winners – two Senior prizes and two Junior prizes – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

The College Library

Congratulations Ava A (Year 7)

Congratulations to Ava A from Year 7 who recently got her first National Qualifying time in the 5km Open Water Swim. 

An incredible achievement considering she is still too young to actually compete at the National Championships in 2021. Ava will need to wait until 2022 when she turns 14. Ava obviously has an extremely big future in the sport. Well done Ava.

Scott Ashcroft - Sports and Activities Coordinator

Debating Update

History Debating Quarter Final and Semi Finals

Over the first few weeks of Term 4, our History Debating teams from Year 9 and 10 participated in the Quarter Finals and Semi Finals of the J.A. Thompson History Debating Competition.


Our Year 9 History Debating Speakers

Our Year 9 squad, who have had incredible success competing in the Year 11 division, consists of Molly M, Charley L, Isabella W, Caitlin O and Abbey C with Molly Q from Year 10 backing up to speak due to absences. In the Semi Finals, our Year 9s debated against the Year 11 team from James Ruse Agricultural High School on the topic ‘That Albert Speer should have been executed at the Nuremberg Trials’ as the affirmative in their Quarter Final. Our girls argued that, in hindsight, Speer should have been executed, using the evidence of his own admission in 1971 and his attendance at key Nazi meetings. James Ruse’s case centred around their belief that Speer was an apolitical technocrat, thus he was not guilty of the charges others faced in Nuremberg. At the end of a challenging debate, our girls had more consistently refuted their opposition and in a nail biting 2-1 split decision from the adjudicators, walked away with a hard earned victory! 

This earned them a spot in the Semi Finals where they debated against Emanuel School Randwick A as the affirmative on the topic ‘That America has not learnt from the Salem witch trials’. The girls passionately argued that, because the same type of event has happened repeatedly throughout American history, the country hadn’t truly learnt the lessons of Salem. Emanuel fired back with arguments surrounding the increased, though not perfect, fairness in the American justice system ensuring that the true nature of the Salem trials could not be repeated. This was a highly engaging debate for their Year 7 audience members, who had been learning about the trials of Salem in their Term 3 English classes. This Year 7s were highly impressed with the sophisticated manner and clarity of our Year 9s. After a tense and hard fought debate, our girls remained graceful in an unfortunate defeat. Making the Semi Finals is simply an incredible achievement for a team two years younger and we are very proud of their efforts in getting to the final four teams of a Year 11 competition!

Our Year 10 squad, consisting of Bianca R, Grace K, Molly Q, Olivia L, Chelsea P and Layla E took on the challenge of debating Tara Anglican B on the topic ‘That the USSR played the most important role in defeating Germany in WWII’ as the affirmative team in their Quarter Final. Our girls proudly argued that the USSR played the most important role due to their sheer military might and the weight of troop numbers (that only the USSR was able to provide in WWII) which made the D Day landings in Normandy a far easier proposition. Our girls came up against a sophisticated and talented opponent who fired back arguing that no single Allied nation can claim they played the most important role as the USSR were reliant on supplies from the UK/USA and the D Day landings were what created the second front given that the UK was on the defence when Nazi Germany invaded the USSR. This was an extremely high quality debate that went down to the wire. At the end of the debate, our girls were able to refute their opponents in a slightly better manner and pushed the debate just that little bit further, and so proudly walked away with a 3-0 unanimous victory! 

This earned the Year 10 squad a spot in the Semi Finals where they took on Tara Anglican A on the topic ‘That WWII was the last military conflict where Australia’s participation was justified’ as the affirmative. Our girls argued that, based on the international legal principle of Casus Belli, which establishes the three accepted reasons for warfare, that there was no justification for Australian involvement in conflicts within Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Their highly talented opposition fired back arguing that Australia was, in fact, justified in going to Korea and Vietnam, and that peacekeeping missions in various parts of the world have been firmly justified. A definition battle ensued with many points going back and forward between both teams. Our girls dug in and held their ground in spectacular fashion, and were subsequently rewarded with a 3-0 victory, and a place in the Grand Final! This is the first time a team from St Patrick’s has progressed to the Grand Final of this competition!  

Congratulations to both squads on their wonderful achievements over the first half of the term. To have had both teams progress to the final four is simply a phenomenal achievement! The Year 10 squad will now take on Emanuel School Randwick in the Grand Final, to be held towards the end of the school year. We wish our girls the very best of luck in preparing for their Grand Final as they attempt to bring the History Debating trophy to Campbelltown for the very first time! Thank you as always to the wonderful Miss Bryant as Oratory Coordinator for her support and enthusiasm in supporting the girls.

Christopher Duncan - Debating Coach

Congratulations Emma!

On 16 October, Emma G from Year 10 presented a wonderful book review on Helena Fox's novel 'How it Feels to Float'. Emma was one of six students across NSW who reviewed one of the shortlisted titles for the 2020 Book of the Year Award for the Children's Book Council of NSW. Here is a short extract from her review.

Emma's review was presented via video

'How it Feels to Float' follows the story of Biz, a 17-year-old girl from Wollongong, trying to find her way in the world whilst grieving the death of her father. This novel presents a heartful and gut-wrenching story about young adults trying to figure out friendship, life and family, all while dealing with past trauma. Helena Fox’s depiction of Biz throughout the book makes you relate to her, cry with her and learn how to float and navigate life with her.

The story of Biz shoots you through the heart with all different types of emotions - it makes you sad and sometimes scared, but still somehow hopeful. Despite the dark themes within the book, it creates a sense of promise for the future. 'How it Feels to Float' is a story about grief, friendship, loss and ultimately hope, which shakes you to your core and makes it difficult to forget. 

Claire McGillicuddy - English Faculty

"Yandel'ora"  -  St Patrick's College Reconciliation Garden

On 27 May 2002, our College garden was officially blessed and opened. As part of the original plan, a dedication plaque was to have been erected near the main entrance to the garden. For reasons not known, this did not occur until November of this year.  Many thanks to Tony Smylie, Head Landscaper/Gardener of the College, for his thoughtful input in design and styling of this plaque. You may also be interested to note that the landscaping and original designs of Yandel'ora garden were accomplished by Tony. It is hoped that all our students and staff will take some time to wander, relax and reflect in this peaceful place.

Joanne Cavallin - College Archivist

2020 LAN Book Drive - donations wanted!

Donations of pre-loved books suitable for children aged 4-12 are invited from all members of our College community until the end of term. All genres, styles and sizes are welcome - from picture books to novels, board books and graphic magazines. Donations will be collected into baskets and distributed to our local primary schools in our third annual LAN Book Drive.

Kayla delivering one of our first book baskets in 2018

The LAN Book Drive launched in 2018 as an initiative driven by Year 12 graduate Kayla. Her passion for reading and love of books inspired her to collect donations from our students, staff and families to give to children in our local community who may not have access to reading books at home. In the first year we packaged up seven baskets and delivered them to our closest primary schools, who were incredibly grateful and made use of them as class book boxes, as donations to families or as valued additions to their library collections.

In 2019 we were thrilled to collect enough books to fill 22 baskets that made their way to even more of our local primary schools. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and are hopeful that we will be able to collect more books with the help of our 2020 Year 7 cohort too.

Books will be collected in pastoral time over the final weeks of school and all donations will be gratefully received. Please feel free to send in small bags or boxes of books with your daughter, or if you have lots of books that are difficult for her to carry, please contact Mrs McGillicuddy via the office to arrange a convenient drop-off or pick up time.

Claire McGillicuddy - English Faculty