Volume 33 Issue 15 - 15 October 2021

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends of St Patrick’s College

Sue Lennox - Principal

Welcome back to term 4 and in a few weeks, a return to face-to-face learning. I do hope you had a restful break and that the return to term has been smooth and uneventful.

Last Tuesday, during Pastoral, all girls listened to a presentation by Mr Luke S Kennedy. In his presentation, he spoke at length about the need to be true to yourself and that all people need to take the masks off that they sometimes wear which protect and disguise them from who they really are to the people around them. His powerful message was that girls need to love and respect themselves for who they are before they can hope to grow and develop into the people they have the potential to become. He stresses the importance of making mistakes and looking at these as opportunities for learning and growth. Finally, he stressed the importance of not being caught up in the concern of what others think of you!

It is a very timely message, particularly as you would have recently read in the media about the revelations that Facebook knowingly compromised the health and safety of their users for their own profit and financial gain. Over the course of several years, their own researchers confirmed that 32 per cent of girls who use Instagram felt worse about their bodies and self-image after using the social media application.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal, it is claimed that Facebook knows what is in the design of Instagram that makes it so harmful for adolescents. It is overloaded with images of unattainable beauty and unachievably thin and toned physiques. Unfortunately, it is only celebrities and social media influencers using these tools- young people are under pressure to curate their “best selves” and “best lives" for Instagram. Their own researchers have made recommendations to lessen the negative impact these filters and images can have on young people, however, Instagram have decided not to take up these recommendations.

How can our girls navigate this treacherous and dark path set up by these large and well-resourced companies? It is not easy growing up as a young girl in today’s times. They need to be very resilient and confident in their own skin. It is for this reason that presentations such as the one we heard from Luke S Kennedy this week and other previous presenters such as Danielle Millar, Madonna King, and Maggie Dent are so important in assisting parents and staff guide our girls through these formative times. We celebrated International Day of the Girl on Monday and it was good to see the joy and exuberance still present in our girls, even online.

You will have received your letter outlining our return to face-to-face over this term. Please contact the College if you have any questions or concerns about this strategy. I hope you were/are able to attend one of the Parent/Teacher/Student interview times we have allocated over the two weeks. It will be very important for you to discuss your daughter’s progress and hear both the success she has achieved over the term and the recommendations for improvement.

I will finish with a reflection provided by Joan Chittister on Labour Day, which we celebrated on 4 October.

Blessings

Sue Lennox - Principal

“Work is the mark of the conscientiously human. We do not live to outgrow work. We live to work well, to work with purpose, to work with honesty and quality and artistry.

The contemplative is overcome by the notion of “tilling the garden and keeping it.” Work does not distract us from God. It brings the reign of God closer than it was before we came. Work doesn’t take us away from God. It continues the work of God through us. Work is the priesthood of the human race. It turns the ordinary into the grandeur of God.”
by Joan Chittister

New Kiss and Drop Zone

When the girls return to the College site, they will notice our building works are completed. 

New Kiss and Drop Zone

We now have a dedicated Kiss and Drop Zone on St John’s Road that will be operational each morning and afternoon. Parents can no longer enter the College site to drop off or pick up their daughter, or park in the MSC car park during the day. Staff will be supervising the kiss and drop area each afternoon from 3:00pm.

For girls who drive to the College, they will enter the site from St John’s Road (Gate A) and drive through two sets of gates to get to the MSC car park. The gates are open from 6:30am every morning and will close at 9:00am, after which girls will have to press the intercom button to gain entry.

To leave the site, cars will have to exit through the bottom MSC gate that enters the St Thomas More primary school roundabout. This gate is always closed and an approaching car from onsite will automatically trigger it to open, however, the trigger will not operate between 2:35pm and 3:00pm. During this time, cars will have to wait until 3:00pm before they can exit.

Listen to What The Spirit is Saying: Plenary Council 2021

Last week, over the six days of 3-10 October, the First General Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia was held virtually. This assembly involved the meeting of 278 designated members from across Australia - including bishops, priests, religious and lay people - to pray and reflect about the future and the role and relevance of the Catholic Church in Australian society today. The event was originally planned for Adelaide in October 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to this year and will be followed by a Second Assembly in Sydney in July 2022.

The topics and issues discussed at the Assembly were chosen for the agenda after a three year process that involved the meeting and sharing of perspectives at the parish and local community level. Such items included: conversion, prayer, formation, governance, structures and institutions, which, to be effective, the Agenda says, must be guided by "a renewed missionary spirit". It is the first time since 1937 that the Australian Catholic Church has considered its future and place in society. Australia has changed a lot since that time and has certainly become more diverse in terms of culture due to migration but also in relation to different spiritualities and theologies influenced by a variance in life experiences. Broader Australian society has also progressed in various aspects including the role of women, that seem at odds with the traditional Church.

When Sr Patty Fawkner SGS, the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, was interviewed after the conclusion of the Assembly, she commented on what she had taken from the meetings held last week. She stated that she had found the diversity of rites to be enriching, with the involvement of the Eastern Rites of Catholicism in Australia. Sr Faulkner also discussed the other ways in which the group that met was extremely diverse and hence there were a variety of viewpoints expressed and listened to. She did say that much ongoing reflection will be needed before the gathering of the Second Assembly.

A central belief that influences this process of reflection is that of a trinitarian God. Catholics believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as one creator God that remains present in the lives of adherents. Through the Holy Spirit, we believe that God speaks to us and that we must listen to what God wants for us and the future of our Church, country, and planet more broadly. Catholics have faith that through a process of “discernment” God’s plan will be achieved and that Jesus is with us to guide our role in bringing about the Kingdom of God.

Louise East - Religious Studies Coordinator

Let Our Enthusiasm Spread

As we return to being a gathered community again, sharing the physical space we call St Patrick’s College, we will be able to assemble for prayer, learning, sport, and other communal activities.

Had lockdown not occurred this year, the St Patrick’s community would have already commenced an exploration of the power, necessity, and effectiveness of prayer—an exploration we will refer to as the “Enthusiasm Campaign”. The word “prayer” can be intimidating for some people, and for others it may even be a nonsense. Hence we will use the title “Enthusiasm Campaign” because the English word “enthusiasm” comes from two Greek words: “en” meaning “in” and “theos” meaning “god”. Therefore the root meaning of enthusiasm is “to put God into” something. In this sense, at its very heart, the St Patrick’s community is enthusiastic—putting God into all that we do. We do so proudly and confidently. This is what makes us a prayerful community, our putting God into all that we do. As Scripture tells us, “If it is not the Lord who builds a house, the builders are wasting their time” (Psalm 127:1).

The general plan for the Enthusiasm Campaign is to begin by inviting students from across all the year groups to form a working committee to explore the value of prayer and to increase the enthusiasm that prayer facilitates. This committee will generate discussion and become a forum for sharing ideas and understanding. Many years ago, the Carmelite community of Mt Carmel at Varroville produced a pamphlet about prayer entitled “Discovering Prayer”. Although the pamphlet is brief, it is packed with much wisdom about prayer. For example, “You cannot teach anyone to pray, just as you cannot teach anyone to love. Both must be discovered within … For prayer is knowledge, not of a thing, but of a Person … Prayer is more a discovery than a task, more an adventure than a duty. It is a wish turned God-wards; an unveiling of ourselves before God … In prayer, the heart is more important than the lips, the attitude of mind speaks louder than the words we use.” These are just a few examples of the wisdom offered by the Carmelites. This pamphlet’s contents will be the guiding document for the Enthusiasm Campaign.

Apart from the Enthusiasm Campaign initiative, our regrouping after the lockdown enables us to pursue our usual social justice activities. St Patrick’s has committed to donating items to be able to create 60 Christmas Hampers on behalf of the St Vincent de Paul Society. These will be distributed to families in our local area. This means that each Homeroom will need to supply two hampers so that we have the required 60 for delivery in early December. We anticipate that by the start of Week 5 to the end of Week 9 of this term, students will be able to bring in the required donations. So, please, let us get into the giving spirit so as to bring joy to the 60 families who will receive our St Patrick’s Christmas Hampers.

Angelo Gattone - Mission Coordinator

Transitioning Back

As lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted to varying degrees, we are entering a time of transition and adjustment. The circumstances of this situation have significantly impacted us all. For some, it has been an opportunity to reflect on what is important, whilst others have embraced the opportunity to learn new things.

Many young people may be excited at the prospect of restrictions being lifted, whilst others may be feeling mixed emotions. Reactions will differ depending on how well they cope with stress and change. Keeping a check on your child’s mental health and wellbeing as they adjust to new routines, will be vitally important.

There is still a lot of uncertainty ahead of us, so focusing on the things you can control or enjoy doing, can help establish predictability and familiarity for the whole family. Adult carers need to provide young people with reassurance by acknowledging any concerns and fears they may have at this time. Consider this to be a normal reaction, however, it may be best to focus more on their feelings and emotions, rather than the practicalities at this stage.

In this Special Report, we share a few ideas about how to help ease this time of transition. We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report and, as always, we welcome your feedback.

If you do have any concerns about the wellbeing of your child, please contact the College for further information or seek medical or professional help.

Here is the link to your Special Report https://saintpatricks.nsw.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-coronavirus-transition-back

Karen Wright - Assistant Principal Students

Wellbeing Collection

The Library has an extensive physical and digital collection of Wellbeing resources.

Highlighted books from the Library's Wellbeing collection

Over the last few months, our students have had to adapt and respond to new challenges, and this understandably may have prompted feelings of anxiety, stress and uncertainty. The new term may also have some challenges as students return to face-to-face classes following a term of remote learning. The Library has a dedicated Wellbeing collection which includes both physical and digital resources to help students tackle feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious. Newly added titles to this collection include It's OK Not to Be Ok, The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens, Mindfulness for Teen Worry, The Grit Guide, and Unlock Your Resilience. Physical titles can be reserved via Destiny Discover, and Digital titles can be found via ePlatform.

Laptop Care and Maintenance Tips

As students are preparing to return to school over the next couple of weeks we asked our very own IT gurus for their top tips for laptop care and maintenance.

Image: Amel Hasanovic. (2017). Unsplash.

Thank you to Mr Esposito for sharing these words of wisdom.

  • Ensure you update your device regularly (Settings → Updates), as updates can fix issues with your computer.
  • Ensure you restart your laptop regularly. It is best practice to shut down your laptop before you go to bed, and turn it on when you get to school.
  • Empty your trash regularly, as extra files will take up space.
  • Uninstall any apps you don’t use anymore and delete any files you don't use anymore (or you can upload those files to Google Drive and delete them from your computer)
  • Don’t download programs / apps you don’t recognise, as it can affect your computer's performance
  • Clean your laptop screen and keyboard regularly, by turning the device off, and then wiping it down with a damp cloth or glass cleaner applied to the cloth.
  • Organise your folders based on the following structure: Year → Subject → Assignments / Textbooks / Class work / etc.
  • With those folders, ensure you back them up to Google Drive, by using the Google Drive Backup app

For more laptop care and maintenance tips, please click here.

Christian Esposito - IT Team

Level Up your Life Skills in Term 4

During Term 4 the Library will be highlighting some lost Life Skills for students.

Skills such as learning to read an analogue clock or how to address an envelope, knowledge that seems to have been lost in recent years. We will be sharing some useful tips, fun facts and stuff teens should really know how to do.

You can follow on Instagram @saintpatrickscollegelibrary where we will be sharing our weekly Life Skills posts.

You can also check out our Life Skills Resource Guide on the Library homepage which will be updated with new information each week.

We hope you enjoy our Life Skills theme during Term 4.

Study Skills - Supporting your Learning

ASKING FOR HELP
Powerful learners have a number of things in common and one of the most important things is their ability to seek help when they need it. If you are struggling in any aspect of your life, the best thing you can do is to reach out and ask for assistance. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing or pretend the issue doesn’t exist. For example, if there have been aspects of your learning this year that you have found difficult, or have fallen behind in, this last term of school before the end of the year is the perfect time to reach out for help. 

Feeling overwhelmed?

SUBJECT SPECIFIC ISSUES
If you are finding a particular subject difficult, or have fallen behind, the first person you should speak to is your teacher.  Firstly, ask questions in class as problems arise. If you find you have too many questions, then ask your teacher if you can make a time to discuss the issues you are having outside of class time. Teachers are happy to help students who are keen to improve. Other places you might be able to find subject-specific help are books or extra textbooks in the school or local library, your fellow classmates, students in older years, other teachers at the school, family members, or family friends. 

LEARNING ISSUES
If you aren’t having trouble with a specific subject, but are finding learning for school generally difficult, the first people to talk to are your parents. You might like to write down your feelings or what you are experiencing so you can explain things to them clearly. Your parents can then help you decide what steps to take next. It is probably a good idea for them to talk to your teachers first to get their perspectives. They might make an appointment with your Year Coordinator so you can all talk through the issues you are experiencing.  The school also has learning support staff who can help you work out what your issues are. ASAP is a great way to get on top of problematic or outstanding work with an expert and helpful support system. 

 

You are invited to participate in the St Patrick's Community POST-IT NOTE SHOW

As a great way to celebrate the community of St Patrick's, our CAPA Team along with the Year 9 Visual Arts class are starting a Community Artmaking Initiative to celebrate the collective talents and creativity that we all possess. We can't wait until we are able to return on-site so we can start to construct this growing exhibition. 

Post-it-Note Art Show

Want to be part of a giant group art show?

The whole St Patrick’s community (students, staff and families) are invited!

To participate, please use a Post-it note as your canvas. Draw or paint anything you want, in any style you like, with any creative material that you can find! We want this art show to reflect the unique diversity within our College. Remember that creativity is not limited to fancy art materials. Even with the most mundane office tool, Post-it notes can be turned into a masterpiece!

Rules:

  • Your Post-it note artwork must be appropriate for school display
  • Words, text or quotes are okay as long as they promote positivity
  • You may submit as many entries as you like
  • Staff, students and their families, are encouraged to enter
  • Keep your Post-it note artworks for submission on return to the College
  • Your full name should be written discreetly on the reverse side
  • The original sized Post-it (75mmx75mm) is preferable but we will accept any size and colour

Submission of entries:

It is preferred that the actual Post-It-Note artworks are submitted when we return onsite to the College but photo submissions are also encouraged so we can publish feature artworks along the way.

Final Submission Date: Wednesday 3 November (Post-it-note – submitted at school)

Tarna Tannous - Acting CAPA Coordinator

International Day of the Girl

The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on 11 October to empower and amplify the voices of young girls around the world.

The theme this year was “Digital generation. Our generation”

To be a girl today is to be part of a digital generation.

Girls are leaders. Girls are change-makers. Girls are driving good and growth around the world. They are a fundamental source of transformational change for gender equality, and technology is a crucial tool to support their work, activism and leadership.

Did you know:

  • not all students can continue their education online while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • almost 50% of the world’s population are still offline, and girls are less likely to have access to technology?
  • in some parts of the world, up to 70% of women and girls don't have mobile devices, internet and digital literacy?

On this International Day of the Girl, let us work together to ensure that girls are connected, supported and empowered and speak up for universal and affordable access to the internet for everyone, everywhere.

Source: UN Women

Now Hiring - Board Committee Members

We are looking for highly motivated, energetic, and passionate professionals who share our values and commitment to girls' education to join our Board Committees as Members. We are looking for those with a background in:

 * Finance, Risk and Audit 

 * Education and Wellbeing

If you, or someone you know, would be suited to either of these roles, please click here for more information.

Applications close Friday 29 October 2021.