Volume 33 Issue 08 - 11 June 2021

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox - Principal

Sending your daughter to an all-girls' school: should you need to explain?

Do your friends and relatives question you about the fact that your daughter attends an all-girls' school?  In the casual conversations I have had with a number of our parents, the answer is ‘Yes’. It would seem that for some in the community, a single sex education for girls is an anomaly.  A few years ago, I had some parents who were considering St Patricks College for their daughter, ask me if the girls will be able to speak to boys after six years of education at an all-girls' school. I believe that the same question was not asked of boys coming out of six years education in an all-boys' school. The absence of boys in a classroom is a concept that puzzles a few in the community.

Over the past few years, a number of Sydney boys’ schools have transitioned from all-boys' education to a co-educational setting. Barker College, Marist Catholic College North Shore and Cranbrook are a few. Having provided single sex education for many years, they noted that moving to a co-educational setting is inevitable as that is the world post school for most young people. The proponents of co-education argue that our world, and specifically our workplaces, are mixed gender and therefore our schools should be mixed gender.

Unfortunately for women, the reality is that our world and workplaces, while mixed in gender, are a long way from being gender-equal. Workplace inequality, coupled with uncertainty about the future of work and the skills needed for career and life success, means that we need to ensure our girls reach their potential and are prepared for the world after school. It is interesting to note that no girls’ school has transitioned to a co-educational setting. This could be because they continue to offer, in their communities, an option of education that is relevant and transformative for the girls who attend the school.

When we survey our Year 12 girls in their last year and ask them what they believe are the advantages of an all-girl education, they collectively say the fact that they can be themselves is most valued. They comment on feeling supported and note their growth in confidence over the years because there are no boys in their classes. They mention the sisterhood they have established with their friends and that they are able to imagine and aspire to whatever they wish to be irrespective of their gender. Girls who join us from a co-educational setting will comment on the greater focus to learning in the classroom, the absence of silly boy/girl behaviours across the College and a greater sense of safety for them.

Your daughter will be able to share with you what she most values about her education at St Patrick’s. This is why you send your daughter to St Patrick’s. I hope in time, the unique opportunity we offer the  girls in Macarthur will not be seen so much as an anomaly by some, but will increasingly be recognised as the setting that will enable girls to flourish and grow into the women they have the potential to become.

Last weekend we enjoyed the combined musical with St Gregory’s College. Here our young people were able to collaborate, work and perform together to produce an exceptional performance.  Not in any way disadvantaged by the fact that they all come from single sex schools, these stars shone and entertained all their audiences with their skill and capacity. I would like to acknowledge the key performers: Tavara S, Jordan-Leigh E, Sophie M and Elliot P. This could not have happened without the dedicated support, guidance and effort of their committed teachers. I would like to acknowledge Mr Joshua Combes, Mrs Elizabeth Samyia, Miss Emma Randell, Ms Louise Glase, Mrs Tarna Tannous, Mr Julian Nash, Mrs Vanessa Singles, Ms Soliette Roa, Mrs Paula Nash and Mrs Natasha Patao. Congratulations to our two College communities for this exceptional performance of 'Xanadu.' 

We are coming to the last two weeks of term. With the weather turning colder and the risk of winter weariness setting in, it is motivational to set ourselves some short term, achievable goals, to get the most out of the remainder of this term. I hope you are able to stay warm and dry as we lead into the winter break. I will leave you with a short prayer on winter.

Blessings

Sue Lennox - Principal

Lord,
In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce remind us of the warmth of your love.
In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early remind us that in the darkness your light still shines.

By Cal Wick

Taken from Jesuit Resources

Library Spotlight on...Mrs McGillicuddy!

A new section of the Library's What's New newsletter asks a staff member a few questions about books and reading.

Mrs McGillicuddy is our first Staff Spotlight candidate in this month's What's New newsletter.

The What’s New @ Your College Library’ newsletter is emailed to all staff and students each month, highlighting the new books, ebooks/audiobooks and magazines in the Library collection. This month, a new section to the newsletter was introduced - Staff Spotlight, where we ask a member of St Patrick’s staff a few questions about their favourite authors and books, and why they love reading.

Our first Spotlight falls on the wonderful Mrs McGillicuddy (English Teacher and Acting Curriculum Administrator). Read her Q & A below:

What is the first book you remember reading (or being read to you) as a child?
The first book I remember being read to me is A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer.

What are your favourite book genres?
Other than the Classics (of course), it’s a tie between Mystery and Science Fiction.

Do you stop reading a book if you don't like it, or do you finish every book you start?
This is an interesting one. I have a personal policy of ALWAYS finishing every book I start... eventually. I like to give every text a chance to improve and change my perceptions, and I must say that most of the time it has really been worth it.

Who is your favourite author?
My favourite author is Jane Austen.

Where is your favourite place to read?
My favourite place to read is at home – curled up with a blanket and lots of pillows.

Can you recommend one book you think everyone should read?
A book I recommend is Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Why do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy reading because it teaches me so much about the world, about humanity and the power of language.

If you would like to be added to the monthly What's New newsletter mailing list, please contact the Library via email: lib_admin@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au

The College Library

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection.

The College Library has recently been focusing on the development and relevancy of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) collection.

The A&TSI collection not only includes non-fiction reference books, but has evolved to include novels, picture books, autobiographies, plays and poetry – personal accounts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Importantly, our A&TSI collection not only supports the senior students at St Patrick’s studying Aboriginal Studies but offers all students the opportunity to access an array of Indigenous resources, authored by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Recent additions to this collection include:

Kindred by Kirli Saunders, Living on Stolen Land by Ambelin Kwaymullina, Common Wealth by Gregg Dreise, Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki and The Cherry-Picker’s Daughter by Kerry Redd-Gilbert.

The College Library

Bound Together Program

The Library is excited to announce a new holiday reading program called Bound Together.

It is designed to promote reading engagement by getting students and parents/caregivers to read the same book at the same time, discussing what is happening and what might happen. We have chosen some absolute page-turners to get you and your daughter enjoying a book together.

Parents/caregivers of students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 will have received an email this week inviting you to take part in the program over the July school holidays. To sign up, all you need to do is email the College Librarian, Michelle Feely, at mfeely@saintpatricks.nsw.edu.au, nominating a first and second preference book, from the presentation you received, that you would like to read along with your daughter. We will then loan you two copies of the book and provide you with some discussion questions.

We hope you will enjoy sharing this reading experience with your daughter over the holidays.

The College Library

The Library supports World Day for Cultural Diversity

Each year, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is celebrated on 21 May and promotes the understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live in harmony together.

Reading through Asia

World Day for Cultural Diversity

The Library highlighted a range of excellent young adult novels from authors around the world to mark World Day for Cultural Diversity with a series of posters displayed on the Library windows. We continue to promote these novels throughout June.

Reading culturally diverse books allows our students to travel the globe without leaving home (a good option during percarious COVID times!). They also promote the notion of learning about cultural differences and avoiding assumptions about others whose lives may be different to our own. Some of the Library’s favourite culturally diverse books include:

Between Us by Clare Atkins, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, Freedom Swimmer by Wai Chim, Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot A. Alaak, and Tell Me Why by Archie Roach.

The College Library

StudySkills@TheLibrary

Multi-tasking - myth or reality?

Ask any student and they will tell you they can multi-task with ease. Do homework, watch TV, listen to music and check their phone all at the same time, no problem. Ask the academic researchers though and a different story emerges.

Technology distractions when studying

Dr Larry Rosen, Professor of Psychology at California State University, explains that what is actually occurring in this ‘multi-tasking’ is ‘task switching’. Instead of doing two things at once, students are actually switching their focus from one task to another and back again, in a parallel fashion, at high speed, resulting in them staying on task for an average of only 65% of the time period and for a maximum of only 3-5 minutes at a time. Constant task-switching results in taking much longer to complete the individual tasks not just due to the interruptions, but also because there are delays as the brain switches between tasks and refocuses.  This brief bottleneck delays the start of the next task and the more intense the distraction, the longer it will take the brain to react.

What we can learn from this is that students need to become more aware of their ‘task-switching’ and make conscious decisions as to when they choose to shift their focus – instead of being enslaved by their technology and at its constant beck and call. We need to teach students that this constant mental task shifting (even thinking about the technology has the same effect as actually checking the technology) takes oxygen and brain activity away from what they are learning. We need to convince our students that it is ok and even necessary to wait, that they don’t have to respond immediately and do have the ability to delay their check-in with the cyber world. It is all about learning that we can control our selective attention and choose to ignore distractions.

We need to train the brain to stop thinking constantly about technology. 

Dr Rosen’s team has determined the best approach for students who find it difficult to pull back from their technology devices is to set an alarm on their phone for short regular ‘tech breaks’. They may start with 15 minutes and gradually increase this amount over time to around 30 minutes. The phone will be face down on their desk on silent mode or off, and when the alarm rings they let themselves check messages and status updates for a minute or two, then set the alarm again. Dr Rosen’s studies found that knowing they can check in 15 minutes creates less anxiety, whereas depriving them of the phone completely did not stop them thinking or obsessing about possible e-communications which took away from their ability to focus fully on their homework. It all comes back to teaching the concept of focus.

Finally, Dr Rosen argues that we cannot simply remove technology and other distractions; they are too woven into students' daily lives. Instead, students should learn metacognitive skills to help them understand when and how to switch their attention between multiple tasks or technologies.

The College Library

College Athletics Carnival

On Thursday 27 May, St Patrick’s held its annual athletics carnival at Campbelltown Athletics Stadium. It was perfect conditions on the day, with the sun shining and a slight breeze to keep our competitors cool.

The athletics carnival is always an extremely busy day and there were some outstanding individual performances throughout the day, many of which had the whole student body engaged and cheering. Equally impressive was the rate of participation and sportsmanship displayed by all students throughout the day. Full credit must go to the PDHPE staff for the work they did upskilling the girls and developing an air of confidence that encouraged students to participate, regardless of the outcome.

A big thank you must go to the staff for their efforts throughout the day and willingness to take on extra roles to ensure the day ran smoothly. It is abundantly clear that without the input and cooperation of the staff on the day, the event would not be anywhere near as successful.  

Our Age Champions and winning house for the day will be announced very soon.

Scott Ashcroft - Sports and Activities Coordinator

Another Super Successful MISA Season

Congratulations to our Year 7, 8, 9 Basketball, Year 7, 8, 9 Frisbee and our Year 11 / 12 Netball teams who were named MISA East Champions for term two after winning their respective grand finals this week. All three teams will now go on to represent the East Zone at the MISA Interzone Finals. Special mention must go to our Year 7, 8, 9 Frisbee who played in a mixed gender competition as an all-girls' team. Well done girls. Congratulations also to our other term two MISA teams who were also very successful including our Year 10, 11, 12 Indoor Cricket who unfortunately lost their grand final game against John Therry and finished in second place overall, as well as our Year 10, 11, 12 Soccer team who finished in third place overall.

 

The term two MISA teams are outlined below.

Year 7, 8, 9 Basketball – 1st Place
Charlie C, Nyala R, Sianna F, Jacqueline C, Jordana N, Sienna T, Zarah N, Hannah Y, Lexi V, Yuhan W and Fale’ofa A. Coach Mrs Nash.

Year 7, 8, 9 Frisbee – 1st Place
Stevie F, Siena B, Annabelle M, Dakoda L, Mia L, Shreya M, Jordanne M, Tamanna M, Breanna R and Gabriella A. Coach Ms Wallin.

Year 10, 11, 12 Soccer – 3rd Place
Nimrath D, Isabella W, Sophie A, Emily R, Charlotte T, Tayissa M, Lily M, Sienna M, Sarah W, Sienna S, Olivia H, Emily F, Carrera K, Angelique M, Liana Y, Marie V and Madison B. Coach Mr Lord and Mr Baca.

Year 10, 11, 12 Indoor Cricket – 2nd Place
Grace K, Amelia M, Brooklyn S, Jessica J, Dayna V, Candice H, Lucy G, Merinda F, Amy W, Amisha K and Anielle S. Coach Mrs Lawrence.

Year 11 / 12 Netball – 1st Place
Charlotte F, Chantel S, Piper A, Katarina S, Hannah S, Hannah P, Evana S, Olivia Z, Lucy O and Zoe D. Coach Mrs Pereira.

Model United Nations - NSW Parliament House

On Saturday 29 May, Year 10 students Emily J, Isabella W and Zoe W travelled into NSW Parliament House, accompanied by Mr East, to represent the College in the Model United Nations (MUNA) for Rotary District 9675. 

Competing against schools such as Ascham, Macarthur Anglican College, Rooty Hill High School, Marist College Kogarah among others, the girls represented Mexico at the UN General Assembly and debated responses to such diverse resolutions as:
- Sustainable fishing practices
- Global responses to pandemics
- The use of plastic bags and environmental impacts
- The use of drone technology and state sovereignty.

The girls performed very well under pressure and impressed the judges with their preparation, research and strong arguments. Although not placing on the day, the girls enjoyed the privilege of working from the Legislative Chamber of the NSW Parliament, and had fun throughout the day. A special mention and thanks to Dr Hugh McDermott MP, who acted as UN Secretary General for the day and gave the girls excellent advice. Thank you to Rotary District 9675 and Ms Lennox for supporting the girls in this endeavour.

Nathan East - HSIE Coordinator

Xanadu - We Xana-did it!

Congratulations to all the students and staff from St Patrick's and St Gregory's Colleges who performed in this year's Annual Combined Musical production of Xanadu. Audiences were rolling with laughter and dancing in the aisles to music from the dawn of the 80s. It was a highly successful community event and showcased the vibrant talent present at both schools. These wonderful memories will be forever "Suspended in Time."

Knitting Group

Knitting Club is back in full throttle with an eager bunch of students meeting each Thursday lunch in H12.

Knitting Club

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, Mrs Vacchini, Pam Poole, Lucette Zapirain 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