From the Principal
Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College
Sue Lennox - Principal
This will be the last newsletter for the term and before we go into Easter. It is hard to believe we are now at the end of this busy term. The Year 7 girls have settled in well to high school. No one has managed to get lost on the site and they have met new friends, lots of new teachers and many exciting courses. The Year 8 girls have had their first experience of a normal term 1 and have embraced the experience of their new classes in TAS and Languages. The Year 9 girls are excited in believing their future camp experience will actually go ahead. Preparations for their camp are well underway for the first week of next term.
Our Year 10 girls are stepping up to the greater demands of the senior school and are enjoying the careers lessons they now have once per cycle. The Year 11 girls have settled into their Preliminary courses and are beginning to focus on the skills and practices that they will draw on for the next two years in preparation for their HSC. The Year 12 girls have just come out of a heavy assessment period and are probably feeling a bit flat and tired from the experience. They have identified their goals for the year and have been following the action plan that will see them achieve these goals. The staff have been working with girls on their goals, setting and collecting assessments and fashioning their lessons to ensure the girls are accessing the learning in the lesson. I believe all deserve the break ahead.
Last Saturday we celebrated our Emerald Gala Ball. Despite the challenging weather conditions outside, The Cube was certainly all glammed up to ensure all had a wonderful time. A performance by Damien Leith, music by The High Rollers and an excellent MC in Julieanne Horseman were just a few of the highlights. My thanks to the hard working committee Julie O'Keefe (Chair), Marion Windle, Peta Borg, Erin de Rooy, Jean Alim and Danielle Grant for their extraordinary work. Also a very special thank you to our generous sponsors, Campbelltown Catholic Club, Catholic Development Fund and Shamrock Printing. You will find a list of all our sponsors later in this edition. It is yet to be finalised, but the amount raised will be over $30,000 for the scholarship fund.
Thank you for your support through this term. It has been wonderful to once again be able to host parents at the College and that activities begin to return to normal. I would like to remind you of the P&F AGM on the evening of Tuesday 30 March at 7.00pm in the Benedict Centre. I hope you will be able to attend and offer your support to the great work our P&F do at the College.
Wishing you a happy and holy Easter. Please find some time to attend one of the services across this important season to celebrate the joy of the risen Christ.
I will leave you with an Easter prayer.
Sue Lennox - Principal
Be still and know that I am God.
Wherever and however you find yourself,
my eyes are always upon you.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will come to take you with me,
all shall be well.
Be still and know that I am God
It is all accomplished now,
and you are mine. Amen.
The Faith Feed
We are about to end Term 1 for 2021 and the beginning of our holidays this year coincides with the important events of Holy Week. We finish school on Wednesday 31 March and, as such, Catholic families and staff at St Patrick’s are able to focus their attention on the rituals and practices associated with the most significant week in the liturgical calendar. Below is an outline of each of these events.
Palm Sunday - 28 March 2021
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem days before he was crucified. Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ's arrival in Jerusalem. In the Gospels, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a young donkey, and to the lavish praise of the townspeople who threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.
During Palm Sunday Mass, palms are distributed to parishioners who carry them in a ritual procession into church. The palms are blessed and many people will fashion them into small crosses or other items of personal devotion. These may be returned to the church or kept for the year. As the palms are blessed, they may not be discarded as trash. Instead, they are appropriately gathered at the church and incinerated to create the ashes that will be used in the follow year's Ash Wednesday observance.
Holy Thursday / The Last Supper – 1 April 2021
Holy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, when he established the sacrament of Holy Communion prior to his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus celebrated the dinner as a Passover feast. The Last Supper was the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples in Jerusalem. During the meal, Jesus predicts his betrayal.
The central observance of Holy Thursday is the ritual reenactment of the Last Supper at Mass. This event is celebrated at every Mass, as party of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but it is specially commemorated on Holy Thursday. The establishment of the priesthood by Jesus is also reenacted at Mass with the priest washing the feet of several parishioners.
Good Friday – 2 April 2021
Good Friday is the day on which Catholics commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Catholics are joined by almost all other Christians in solemn commemoration on this day. It is also a legal holiday around much of the world.
The events of Good Friday are commemorated in the Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion often performed by Catholics during Lent and especially on Good Friday. The Stations of the Cross are commonly recited on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent. Another form of devotion, the Acts of Reparation, may also be prayed.
Good Friday is a day of fasting within the Church. Traditionally, there is no Mass and no celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday. A liturgy may still be performed and communion, if taken, comes from hosts consecrated on Holy Thursday. Baptism, penance, and anointing of the sick may be performed, but only in unusual circumstances. Church bells are silent. Altars are left bare.
Holy Saturday – 3 April 2021
On Holy Saturday, there is no Mass. Parishes may hold services, but there is no distribution of Communion. On Holy Saturday, we remember that Jesus descended into hell where he preached the Gospel to those who died before and opened the way to heaven for all those who were worthy. This concludes Holy Week. The following day is Easter Sunday, the day on which it was discovered the Tomb was empty, and our Lord was resurrected, triumphing over death once and for all time.
Louise East - Religious Studies Coordinator
On Wednesday 17 March, our St Patrick’s community celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the gift of the patronage of St Patrick, protector of our College community. We were honoured to have our eucharistic celebration presided by Bishop Brian Mascord, Bishop of Wollongong.
Our Benedictine values focus for this year is Communio through the lens of Compassion and Stewardship, with an emphasis on Stewardship. In our honouring of St Patrick, we acknowledge him as one who had the gift of bringing people together and building amongst them a strong sense of community. Stewardship is essential in making communities safe and caring. Stewardship is fundamentally an act of love, stewardship is love in action. We are exercising stewardship when we are attentive to the needs of others and the needs of our world. We are being good stewards when we look after what has been entrusted to us. Beyond that, stewardship calls us to make things better. Our Lenten catchcry this year is: “Make the world a better place.”
In his homily, Bishop Brian spoke about being a follower of Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus requires, above all else, faith and love. On one occasion, Jesus saw his Apostles trying to catch fish but they were not having much success. Jesus came to their aid and their catch of fish was so great that their boats were almost sinking. The Apostles became afraid of the power Jesus could demonstrate. Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When we place our faith and trust in Jesus, we can achieve far more than we could ever imagine. Bishop Brian compared this to a song from “The Greatest Showman” movie. The song’s title is “Come Alive” and a key verse of the song states, “you're more than you could ever be because you're dreaming with your eyes wide open.” With Jesus as our guide and by placing our faith in him, we can be more than we could ever imagine. We thank Bishop Brian for his inspiring words and prayerfulness.
Our St Patrick’s Day Mass also marked the opening of the school year. We asked for God’s blessing upon our community so that we may be guided in our efforts to create a vibrant learning environment in which “the strong have something to strive for and the weak have nothing to run from.” St Patrick was a tireless builder of communities. He knew how to draw people together and how to create a place where everyone felt they were comfortable and belonged. St Patrick was also a proclaimer of God’s Word. He spread the Good News of God’s love for all people. This is what we celebrate each St Patrick’s Day, St Patrick’s call to be a welcoming community of faith founded on the person of Jesus who is our light.
The St Patrick’s community extends a prayer of blessing to all our families and friends for a blessed and special Easter. Christianity’s most sacred days will be upon us very soon, Holy Thursday and the Last Supper; Good Friday and the Crucifixion of Jesus; Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of Jesus. These are the key events of Holy Week. May our celebration of these mysteries of the life of Jesus fill us all with hope, joy, and fullness of life.
Living and True God,
we thank you for the gift of the Last Supper—
the eternal presence of your Son, Jesus,
in the form of Eucharistic Bread and Wine.
Just as Jesus surrendered his life on the Cross,
we, too, join our lives in the same rhythm of dying to self
and rising to newness of life as we are formed into the image of Jesus, your Son.
We praise you, Lord, for the gift of life
and we are filled with hope and trust in the Resurrection of Jesus
which has gained for us the gift of eternal life.
With the power of the Holy Spirit, we go forward
sustained in our daily journey by you, our Living and True God.
A happy and blessed Easter to all members of the St Patrick’s community.
Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator
During the Pastoral Period on Tuesday, Year 11 and Year 7 had another opportunity to reconnect.
Year 7 girls met with their Big Sister and some other girls in the grade. They asked the Year 11 students questions with some prompts and then the conversations flowed with laughter and smiles. The girls tackled a mindful colouring task to help them ease into the end of the term.
It was lovely to see the girls reconnecting and share the morning together.
Maria Boulatsakos - Year 11 Coordinator and Jared Baca - Year 7 Coordinator
Learning and Teaching
Year 7 Connect students finalising their 'Our Place' projects
Year 8 History students visit the College archives and meet Mrs Jo Cavillan
Year 9 Geography students work on their Sustainable Biomes research
Year 10 History students start their studies of The Holocaust
Read more below!
Our Year 7 students are near to finalising their Connect 'Our Place' projects and are learning wonderful things about the suburbs they live in and why and how they are such liveable places. More importantly, they are learning important 21st century skills like collaboration, innovation and teamwork skills.
In Year 8 History, our students were privileged to meet our College Archivist, Mrs Jo Cavillan who has a long and distinguished connection to the College. In sessions, students visited Jo and were lucky enough to hear from her about her important role in the College and how the archives operate. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned so much about their shared heritage and connections to the sisterhood of students past, present and future.
Year 9 Geography students have been investigating one country and how food production has been affected by one particular factor. The girls have enjoyed learning about the implications of this challenge to food security and this study has made them knowledgeable citizens with an eye for strategies for the future.
Year 10 History have started their next unit: The Holocaust and look forward to their visit in late April to the Sydney Jewish Museum, Darlinghurst. Here they will research the experiences of children during this terrible historical period and will be lucky enough to meet survivors who will give them first-hand testimony as to what happened.
Year 11 and 12 students are heavily involved in their assessment programs and busily organising study notes. A reminder to parents/carers that additional support is available for all students around assessment tasks and study skills via the ASAP program and also HSIE help runs on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes in H24.
Nathan East - HSIE Coordinator
The College Library
With the end of term fast approaching, now is the time to unwind and de-stress, unplugging from technology, if only for a short while.
Our communal 'Inspirational Women' jigsaw
With this in mind, beginning on 22 March and running until the end of term, the library will be a technology free space. This will be before school, recess and lunch.
We understand that there will be students who are researching or doing assessments, and these are the exception.
The library has many ways to help you unwind and de-stress. We have books, mindfulness colouring, yoga mats and board games. We have a large selection of jigsaws, the latest of which is a beautiful 'Inspirational Women' jigsaw, gifted to the library recently by two Year 12 2020 students.
This jigsaw will be out on the table and will remain there for all to contribute. We are excited to see this jigsaw completed as it is a celebration of so many inspirational women and their achievements.
Please join us in the library for some down time.
The College Library
Why do we have to do homework?
Homework, or home learning as some schools now prefer to call it, serves many purposes. It may be to consolidate or check or extend the learning from the day, or prepare for the learning to come in subsequent days. It could be to do with longer term work such as assignments or preparing for tests and examinations.
Good homework habits
Ultimately it comes back to what school is all about – learning. And learning not just about learning content, but learning and developing skills. At times students feel that the work they are doing at school is not relevant to their lives, however sometimes we need to look beyond the content to the purpose of the learning exercise. At times the content will be a vehicle to teach particular skills. Much of what we learn in Mathematics develops the problem solving circuits in our brain. When you are analysing Shakespeare, you are learning not just about Shakespeare, but to think critically and expand your point of view and broaden your experience of the world through examination of different lives, emotions and experiences. The message is that everything you learn at school has purpose and value, even if you can’t always see it.
There is much debate in the media as to the value of homework. In primary school it has been shown that only a small amount of students actually benefit from doing homework in terms of academic achievement. The exception to this is reading at home – every student benefits from this. However, other benefits can’t be discounted: developing independent working skills, establishing study routines essential for learning in later years, helping students master things they are struggling with and allowing parental involvement.
In secondary school homework has proved to be an essential component of academic success in the senior years. The reality of Year 11 and 12 is that a large component of independent learning needs to be done at home. One of the biggest problems for students transitioning to the senior years is that they have not learnt to work effectively and efficiently in the home environment. This is why developing good habits and learning to do at least a solid hour or two a day of home study is essential in Years 7-10. It is also about developing the qualities of discipline and perseverance, both essential for senior studies. Students will not like every subject equally, so students need to learn how to make themselves do the work even for their least favourite subjects.
What can you do this year to manage your homework effectively? Try these top tips:
- Get organised straight away: As soon as you get home unpack your bag before you have a break and something to eat. Lay out all the work first. It is easier to get started if you have everything ready to go.
- Prioritise and plan: Before you start work, write a list of what needs to be done and decide what order you will do it. Focus on what is most important, not just what subject you like best! Also write down how long you think each task will take to do.
- Develop thinking pathways: Keep in your mind that it is all about learning. Try and look beyond the actual content to what type of skill this homework might be developing for you – for example analysing, critical thinking, writing skills, or problem-solving skills.
- Chunk time into focused blocks: Do your work in 20-30 minute blocks with no distractions during that time. So switch off the TV, turn off your phone for that 20-30 minutes. When you just focus on the work that needs to be done you’ll be amazed at how much work you complete. Of course if you are on a roll, you can keep going past the 30 minutes.
- Alternate and chip away: If there is a task you really don’t want to do then alternate this with a task you enjoy doing. For example, 15 minutes on the homework you like, 5 minutes on the homework you don’t like. When you chip away at it you will be surprised how quickly you get through the work.
The College Library
Velkommen, Nyindee, Nerhba and Laipni Gaiditi.
Our Harmony Day display in the library features the word ‘welcome’ in 24 different languages, from Danish, Lao, Maltese, Latvian and many more, which were supplied and written by our students in the language of their cultural heritage.
This year we are focusing on the theme of ‘Everyone Belongs’, and as always for Harmony Day celebrating our cultural diversity, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
The College Library
Last Saturday, four of our actors from Xanadu, performed at the Emerald Gala Ball. Tavara S of Year 11, Candice M of Year 11, Anielle S of Year 11 and Evana S of Year 12. Directed by Mr Combes, vocal training and music by Mrs Samyia with costumes by Mrs Tannous - we were ready to give the guests at our ball an extra treat. After a little video editing magic by Mr Combes, here's your first sneak peak of our hilarious production of Xanadu - opening on 4 June 2021.
History Club has resumed for 2021 with many exciting events and projects on the horizon.
Bronwyn Z and Laura Z with WW2 veteran Bert Collins in 2019 during the History Club's launch of its Anzac Nurses display
We had a very special guest speaker on 12 March, Ms Belinda McMartin, CEO of the Museum of Fire at Penrith. Belinda is an ex-student of St Patrick’s from the class of 2006 and was a keen Modern and Ancient History student at St Patrick’s. After graduating school, Belinda studied at the University of Sydney and became a Museum Curator working at the Bradman Museum among other placements.
Belinda spoke to the History Club about the various career opportunities for those who wished to pursue their love of history beyond school. She also explained the various jobs and roles she has undertaken whilst working in the museum field. The students also had an opportunity to ask Belinda questions. The Museum of Fire is currently holding a competition for students - information can be found at https://www.museumoffire.net/2021-history-competition
On 19 March, local studies librarians from Campbelltown Library came to the College and video interviewed History Club members Caitlin R, Bronwyn Z, Lily K, Charlotte D, Nikitta J and Kaitlyn A. As part of the National Trust Heritage Festival theme ‘Our Heritage For the Future’, they have been interviewing some senior members of Campbelltown asking them what Campbelltown used to be like. Our students were interviewed about what the Campbelltown of the future should be like and which famous Campbelltownians they admired most. This video will go online in the future.
The History Club is working eagerly on the school Anzac Assembly which will be held on 4 May. Our theme this year is ‘Women in Service’.
A lovely article appeared in the Macarthur Advertiser recently about the History Club’s success in the 2020 Anzac Day Schools Award winning the award for ‘Most Innovative Commemoration’ in an Australian school https://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/7163450/macarthur-schools-encouraged-to-take-part-in-anzac-award/
One of the History Club’s dearest friends is 105 year old World War II veteran, Bert Collins. He came and visited the girls in 2019 and took part in the College Fisher’s Ghost parade entry in that year. Bert is a melanoma survivor and is doing ‘laps’ to fundraise for melanoma research in the same way Britain’s Sir Captain Tom Moore raised money for the NHS. If you would like to make a donation please visit https://melanomamarch.org.au/ A video about Bert can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4VizTCP3bM
Photos in this article are courtesy of Julian Nash
Fran Musico Rullo - HSIE Teacher
Week 8 and 9 have been a busy time in the world of Oratory at St Pat's! Our Debaters have started their regular training sessions at lunchtime, as well as having a combined session for all year groups on Wednesday afternoons, in preparation for the upcoming CSDA, MISA and History Debating seasons. There have also been three other events over the last two weeks, please find the details below:
MISA Debating Day
On 15 March, eight of our Year 7 MISA Debaters journeyed to John Therry Catholic College, Rosemeadow, to participate in the MISA Debating Workshop Day. Our eight students were: Chaiyya R, Valentina SM, Aurora F, Alif R, Hannah B, Hannah M, Armeet K, Annalise D. The girls first listened to a presentation on how to debate, which included key information such as the speaker roles, and how to break down a topic during preparation time. After morning tea, the girls participated in their first ever debate where they took on the topic 'That life is better in the country than in the city'. This allowed the girls to break open their first topic and to experience first hand the pressures of a debate, including managing their time in the preparation room. The girls handled it wonderfully and came to the lunch break with some solid feedback and a new found love for debating. After lunch, the girls entered their second debate on the topic 'That commercials are the best part of television'. This debate allowed our girls to refine their skills and to apply the feedback that they received in the first debate. At the conclusion of this second debate, the girls felt far more confident about their speaking abilities, and their ability to work as a team, whilst trying to prove their point to be right and true. Thank you very much to the girls for their efforts and positivity throughout the day, and we wish them the best of luck as they move towards the start of the MISA Debating season. Finally, thank you very much to Miss Bryant for her organisation of the day, as well as the staff at John Therry for all of their work in ensuring the day was a great success!
Frensham Debating Day at St Patrick's
On 19 March, the St Patrick's Debating community hosted Frensham School Mittagong for a Debating Training Day. This allowed our new debaters to learn the pivotal skills they will require in each competition here at school. The girls started the day with a presentation from Miss Bryant, as she taught the girls how to debate, the speaker roles, and how to win an argument. After morning tea, the girls got the chance to break down several topics, and then refute the arguments they had just made. They were subsequently able to watch a debate between some of our experienced Year 9 and 10 debaters, and collectively the group awarded the debate to our Year 9s in a 12-11 split decision! After lunch, our new debaters were able to debate themselves, on topics including 'that everyone should own a pet'. The day was also a good opportunity for our girls to socialise with the Frensham girls. Thank you very much to the Frensham staff and students for making this day such a success, to our girls for participating with passion, and to Miss Bryant for organising the day.
Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking
On 24 March, four of our girls travelled to St Gregory's College, Campbelltown for the first round of the Rostrum Voice of Youth Public Speaking competition. Representing our College in the Junior division, we had Louise F, Emma G and Sarah M, and in the Senior division we had Lily C. The girls were required to pre-write their speech on a number of topics that could have been chosen, including life in colour, the right attitude and in the spotlight. The girls all spoke with a great deal of passion, confidence and fervour. At the end of the evening, we had great success in the Junior division, with a clean sweep of the top two placings. Congratulations to Louise F for winning the Junior division, and to Emma G for placing as the Runner Up! Louise will now move through to the Regional Final, which will take place in May.
Congratulations again to all four speakers for representing the College with pride and passion and enthusiasm.
Christopher Duncan - Senior Debating Coach
During Activities, this term a special program called The PAX / Shanti Program was birthed.
The PAX / Shanti Program is designed to provide opportunities for students to focus on their inner self. PAX is the Benedictine value which means peace - it is not something that we sit about and wait for - we must pursue it, work for it, set out trying to achieve it. Shanti means ‘Inner Peace’ - Peace of Body, Peace of Speech and Peace of Mind. These two concepts together combine to create a beautifully written program for young adolescents. The program aims to enrich a student’s knowledge on wellbeing topics and teach students skills to step forward with an understanding of their own strength to positively adjust to the dynamic nature of their life.
Each weekly session flowed through 4 methods of teaching: Meditation/Breathing (10 min), Journalling (10 min), Teaching of a Wellbeing Topic/Skill (20 min), Physical Activity/Mindful Movement (40 min).
Sessions are closed with the Hawaiian Mantra HO’OPONOPONO Blessing.
We are very proud of the girls who entered into the space so beautifully and have taken away life-long skills for their future wellbeing.
Maria Boulatsakos and Kay Cornett (PAX/Shanti Facilitators)
Knitting Club is back in full throttle with an eager bunch of students meeting each Thursday lunch in H12.
Last year's Knitting Club presentation
We have had an inundation of squares from lots of grandparents and friends of the College. The students have been learning how to sew the squares together to create blankets for the less fortunate in the local community. We wish to thank Mrs Leonie Corlett (grandmother of Georgia D), Lorraine St John, Janine McLeod, Maureen O'Brien, Del Costa, Sue Ollis and Betty Small for their generous donations of squares.
We are fortunate that COVID-19 restrictions are easing, so our knitting ladies will be able to come back into the College and work with the girls.
If anyone would like to donate knitted squares (cast on 50 stitches) please drop in at College reception.
Fran Musico Rullo - HSIE Teacher