St John Paul II Catholic College Newsletter

Term 4 - 2019


Dear Parents/Caregivers,

This is the last newsletter for 2019 and once again we have had a very exciting, challenging and rewarding school year. During the year there have been many events showing what a great community we have here at St John Paul II Catholic College.

Some of these events have included: Year 6 into Year 7 Transition Day, Debating, Public Speaking, Science and Mathematics Competitions, Write A Book in A Day, Year 11 HSC Retreat at Collaroy, Year 7 Camp at Yarramundi, Year 7 -11 Reflection Days, Terra Sancta/St John Paul II Day and Chess Competitions. We’ve also had the College Creative and Performing Arts Spectacular evenings, Vinnie’s Van, further implementation of RISEUP, internal and external Sports Competitions, Sports Presentation Awards, Academic Merit Assemblies, TAFE/WSU/ACU courses, NAPLAN, and another Higher School Certificate.

Being a catholic college students and staff have had the opportunity on a number of occasions to attend mass with their year group or as part of the whole college, plus currently some Year 9 to 11 students and staff are preparing to attend the  Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth from 8-10 December.

Our Current Year 11/HSC students participated in their retreat in Week 6 this term. The retreat marked a very important time in their lives and an opportunity to form the way they look at the world through a lens of faith, to encourage them in their daily search for the sacred and to remind them that they are greatly loved by God. Twelve months from now, they will be leaving the college to face the next challenges in their lives, and we know the experience of retreat will remain with them forever. Whenever a teacher meets ex-students the retreat continues to be the memory they want to share.

As we wait upon receiving the HSC results on 17 December. St John Paul II Catholic College’s performance in the 2019 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing is improving each year. There was an increase in the number of Year 9 achieving Bands, 8, 9 and 10 in comparison to previous years. This has resulted in Year 9 having an increased learning gain since completing their NAPLAN in Year 7- 2017.  Nearly all Year 7 and 9 students are above the national minimum standard average across all five areas of the NAPLAN test (reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy).

After a distinguished career in teaching and leadership Kathy Cairns is retiring. This year we also say farewell to the following permanent staff who are taking up positions at other schools as part of their professional development: Serena Napoli, Martha Ghougassian and Sara Sundstrom. Alicia Shaw has been seconded for 2020 as the Religious Education Coordinator to Marian College, Kenthurst. We look forward to her return in 2021.

The following staff who have been on temporary contract are also finishing with us at the end of the year: Emma Kotowski, Liam Muss, Louise Varga and Jacob Abboub. There will also be staff on maternity leave for the majority of next year: Amanda Saunders, Jessica Idone, Shanice Vella and Melissa Spence

We welcome the following staff to St John Paul II Catholic College in 2020: Luke Albery (Science/Maths), Sarah Azzopardi  (English/HSIE/RE)  Mary Clark (Learning Support/ Diversity), Pascale El-Bustani (English/HSIE/RE)  Michaela Evans  (Religious Education) Breanna Fitzpatrick (TAS/Agriculture), Anastasia Modderno  (Maths), Justine Phillips (TAS/Agriculture). Samantha Valderrama (Visual Arts), Jeffrey Victorino (HSIE) and Andrew Valenti (Maths). We also have staff returning from leave, Naomi Preusker and Nicole Debono.

At the college we recognise that email is a fast and convenient way to communicate with your child’s teacher. As you could appreciate, teachers read their emails at various times throughout the school day. Further, that other than in the case of a genuine emergency, they are generally not expected to respond to emails from parents/caregivers and students outside of normal working hours. Please keep in mind that if you send an email to a member of our staff outside of normal working hours, a reply may not be received until the following working day.

If you wish to contact your child’s teacher, please continue to direct your emails to the teacher which will be replied to as per usual practice. We appreciate your assistance and understanding. If you have any questions about this matter, please feel free to contact me at the college.

Communication between parents/caregivers, teachers and students is crucial to ensuring a student’s education and wellbeing is at its best. In response to the ever-increasing digital communications via social media, we have decided to embrace these technologies in a positive and productive manner. Currently we use college website, Facebook, Skoolbag app, intranet, SMS and email as the information is provided closer to the date of the event

In 2020 we will be creating more opportunities for parent/caregivers/students to receive information about their learning. We will be implementing Compass with the other schools in the Diocese of Parramatta.  Compass is a school platform that assists schools in parent/caregiver, student and staff communication. Compass is designed to assist schools to improve the home school partnership with more timely and relevant communication.

I wish everyone a safe, happy and above all holy Christmas.






This year Advent begins on the 1st of December; it is a time of preparation, one in which we recall the arrival of Christ on Christmas Day over 2,000 years ago, but also look forward to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. It can be difficult not to focus our attention on the commercialised aspects of Christmas and to align ourselves with the true nature and message of the season. Below are some spiritual suggestions: READ MORE


The latest article from our Assistant Principals includes some very important information including student preparation for 2020 over the Christmas break, thank you to our parents/caregivers for attending the HSC Learning Conferences and the introduction of our new school management system - Compass.     READ MORE 

Wearing the correct footwear at StJPII

The appropriate school shoes are a requirement of the school uniform.

The college uniform identifies us as members of the same community and ensures students are well dressed. 

When the correct shoes are worn, students satisfy WHS requirements and look professionally dressed. 

Please use this Safe, professional and appropriate footwear guide when preparing your child’s uniform.

Please note that students will be asked to purchase new shoes if they are not wearing school or sport shoes that satisfy the requirements of the college uniform code. 

Parents and Caregivers are reminded that the speed limit around the school is 40 kph during school hours. The area directly out the front of the school is a bus bay only. All parent/caregivers must pick up and drop off students from outside the Cottage. There is no stopping at the front of the school due to roadworks.


In the first instance please reply directly to the attendance SMS or a letter from a parent/caregiver with the dates and explanation of absence must be provided. For absences of 5 days or more an Application for Extended Leave must be completed and are available from the College Website. If your child is ill, please keep them at home and notify the school.

Currently there are a significant number of families who are taking leave during the school term. Any work that is missed must be followed up by the student and parents. All assessment dates are published in the student handbook. Could we also ask that Doctor/Dentist appointments are made after school hours.


Parent/Caregivers are asked to refer to page 34a of the student diary for our Uniform Policy. This policy is also available on the College website. We still need a little more support from parents/caregivers to make sure school shoes meet Workplace Safety requirements. Traditional black polishable lace-up school shoes with a solid heel must be worn on normal school days (see previous newsletter for images). Black vinyl flat soled skating styles have never been part of our uniform. Students are not permitted to wear different jumper/hoodies. If a student cannot wear the correct sport uniform, the full College uniform must be worn. No combinations of College and Sport uniform is permitted. Girls are permitted to wear one small sleeper/stud in the lower ear lobe only. Boys are not permitted earrings. Plastic spacers/keepers are not to be worn at any time. Due to safety requirements, girls must have their hair tied back at all times. 

Contacting Teachers

The school office is open from 7:30am until 3:30pm. If calling for a teacher please allow them 24 hours to return your call. Parents/Caregivers are asked to remember that teachers are in class during the day and have meetings after school hours. Please make sure an appointment is made with a teacher before coming into the school as a teacher cannot meet with a parent/caregiver during a scheduled learning time or meeting. We thank you for your understanding.

Student Medical Action Plans 

Parent/Caregivers are reminded to send in updated Action Plans for students with Anaphylaxis or Asthma, these can be supplied by your GP.

Supply and administration of Over the Counter Medication (OTC) 

Over the counter medication will not be administered by school staff unless a written request is received from the student’s parent/caregiver and is accompanied by written advice from a medical practitioner or chemist with the medication in the original labelled container. Parents/caregivers can request the Chemist place a label on the medication with the child’s name and dosage.  

The exception is reliever puffers for the emergency treatment of asthma.

Student Devices

It is the expectation that every student brings a charged laptop to school everyday. Most subject areas use Google Classroom and email communication to connect with the students and their learning. 

Mobile phones

Students are not permitted to use mobile phones during normal class time. A mobile phone must be switched off during learning time. The use of social media is not permitted at STJPII. Could we ask that if a parent/caregiver needs to send a message to a student that they call the school office so a message can be given to the student. At no time is a student permitted to film or take an image of another student or community member without specific permission. 

Assessment Handbooks

All  Assessment Handbooks are available online from the website for parents/caregivers and students to access.

2020 school travel applications NOW OPEN

Applications for student travel in 2020 opened on Friday, 11 October 2019.

 Students progressing to year 7 no longer need to re-apply if they:

· are continuing at the same school

· are residing at the same address

· have not been sent an expiry notification from Transport for NSW.

Where a student meets the new distance eligibility, the system will automatically update their entitlement. If they do not meet the new eligibility, they will receive an expiry notification via email.

 Students who have an entitlement approved under a medical condition which is due to expire will receive a notification advising them to re-apply.

Term Bus Pass holders will receive a notification to re-apply.

If students need to update their information or re-apply, they should go online to

Applications need to be submitted before 31 December 2019 to ensure student entitlements are updated and their current entitlement/card is not cancelled. If their application is submitted after 31 December 2019, the system will automatically cancel an entitlement/card and a new one will need to be issued.

Students in the Opal network applying for a SSTS or Term Bus Pass entitlement for the first time will receive their card at their nominated postal address. Cards will be mailed out from January 2020.

Students residing in Rural and Regional (R&R) areas should receive their travel pass at the commencement of the new school year from their nominated operator, this may be distributed via the school or sent direct to their address. Note: some R&R operators do not issue travel passes. Students/Parents should confirm with their nominated operator if they do not receive a pass.


We have suggested that students take a photo of the reverse side of their card (Showing student/card number) on their phones for the days they may forget their card. This can then be shown to drivers/Opal Card Inspectors to show a valid card exists.

If students do not have an OPAL Card, the full fare must be paid.


Stay up to date with the latest events at STJPIICC click here
Please click here for future important dates



Girls from STJPIICC were invited to a Girls' Tech Day to Ignite their Imagination with new and exciting opportunities and, the opportunity to connect with female mentors and learn from leaders who are changing the world. This event was sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in partnership with Inspiring Future Australia, and the purpose was to inspire will and empower female school students in Years 7-12 to pursue interests and careers in technology. 

The students had the opportunity to interact with STEM professionals from industry and educational organisations as they took part in various exciting hands-on, high-tech activities and workshops such as coding, robotic challenges, 3D printing and virtual reality technology. For more information CLICK HERE


Term 4 for CAPA was filled with stupendous energy from ongoing rehearsals to the final show -- it was all SPECTACULAR! Read here for more


Monday, December 2, Year 9 Child Studies, Year 10 Child Studies and Year 11 Exploring Early Childhood went on an excursion to the University of Wollongong's (UOW’s) Early Start Discovery Centre.  The students experienced University life through listening to one of UOW's lecturers talking to them about Early Childhood Education. Continue Reading Here. 


The Library has been a refuge for students and staff looking to escape the smoke from bushfires over the past few weeks. There has never been a better time to stay indoors and read a good book or study. CLICK HERE for the latest updates from Nirimba Library. 


Congratulations to our Year 11 students who completed a unit in their desired field of study at Western Sydney University - The College (WSU): Niyati Mittal, Hayley Ling, Harrison Bazley, Alex Belcastro, Claire Lynch, Michaela Forster, Vismay Bhadra and Jake Gawthorne. All of our students received either a Distinction or High Distinction and as a result, all have been awarded early entry and a scholarship of $5000 each year for the duration of their chosen course (up to $20,000) to attend WSU when they complete their HSC in 2020. Well done! Your hard work and commitment is commendable.

We are so honoured to be a part of the @Nirimba Education Precinct, where our students are provided with opportunities and experiences as rich and rare as this one.



During the annual commerce stalls our SRC students were given the opportunity to host their own stall to help fundraise for the College Immersion Program. This year SRC sold ‘funkyshakes’ which were loaded milkshakes topped with whipped cream and a variety of sweet treats. This proved to be hit for students as this sold out quickly! Jayden Ramia quoted the day as “a fun and fulfilling experience of collaboration which was a good insight into what it might feel like to work in the hospitality environment.” 


Saturday 9 November was the commemoration of the 100th year of the Riverstone Cenotaph. Our student representatives Jayden Kemp, Tristan Kemp and Evan Mckinnon represented the College in a special re-enactment of how our fallen would have left Riverstone Station those many years ago. The theme of the day was focused on making an impact in our changing world, that our ‘fighting spirit’ should always remain strong in solidarity. Evan Mckinnon our new stage 4 SRC representative commented on the experience as a “spiritual feeling and definitely one to remember.” 

Have a safe and wonderful Christmas! 

Mrs Brooks

Please follow us and stay connected on instagram @STJPIICC 


As Term 4 comes to an end our boys Cricket and Basketball teams are nearly halfway through their seasons.

Special mention to Mr Morgan's year 7 basketball team who have started the season 5 from 5! Girls trials for term 1 have commenced for Touch Football, Waterpolo (seniors) and Volleyball. On Wednesday December 4th the College celebrated our 2019 Sports Presentation. This event is in recognition of our students who have represented the College in sport in 2019.

Well done to all our students on a fantastic year in sport throughout 2019!

Merry Christmas and God bless

Mr Horder


Congratulations to our Metropolitan Catholic Schools (MCS) Senior Sportsman Of The Year - Riley Watson!

Eleven schools in our Diocese participate in MCS competition and Riley was selected from all the senior boys within the competition. Riley received this award for his representation in:

  • Soccer

  • Touch Football

  • Basketball 

  • NSWCCC Baseball team

  • NSW All Schools Softball and 

  • Australian Merit Softball Team.

Well done Riley !


Blake Matthews creates History - Blake Matthews Racing - Junior Formula 500s

Year 8 student Blake Matthews recently became the first driver in his class to win a feature race at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway. He has his own race team and own brand called Blake Matthews Racing

Having gotten his competitive racing career underway at the early age of 10 competing in go karts on the tar circuits, as well as Speedway Karts, both of which saw him pick up numerous feature-race wins - Matthews eventually made the transition into Junior Formula 500s last wins continuing his success with more victories throughout NSW and Queensland…….READ MORE



Dear Parents/Caregivers

Please note that all school fee accounts for 2019 should be finalised by Friday 13 December 2019, unless you have contacted the school office and made other arrangements to extend your payment arrangement. No payments can be accepted at either the Nirimba or Schofields Office after this date due to our Financial Rollover.

Should you be experiencing financial difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact either Mrs Jean Webb on 9208-7239 or Mr Kel Haynes on 9208-7238 to discuss this matter further. We would like to thank those families that have already finalised their accounts for 2019.


The last day of 2019 trading for the Uniform Shop will be Thursday 12 December 2019. The shop will re-open for trading on 21 January 2020.

We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our families a safe & holy Christmas period.

Mr Kel Haynes 

Business Manager 

All fee information including the Annual Diocesan Fee Schedule can be found on the website - Enrol Now / School Fees.


Enrolments for Year 7 - 2021 

St John Paul II is accepting enrolments for Year 7 2021. The closing date for Year 7 2021 applications 1st round offers is Wednesday, 25 March 2020.

Parents/Caregivers and students are invited to attend our Open Enrolment Afternoon Evening on Monday 9 March from 4.00pm to 6.30pm. Group tours run by our students are available and will give you the opportunity to view the school grounds and facilities, visit the classrooms and meet our students and teachers. 

Enrolment applications are available from the website under Enrol Now or you can contact Mrs Fay Lovett on 92087200 to enquire further.


The following Busways information can be found on the website under In The Loop / School Notes / Bus Information 

  • Opal Campaign Letter To Families 
  • Guidelines For Managing School Student Behaviour On Buses
  • How To Apply For All Opal Cards  


Suicide, bullying, and trustworthy adults

Last time we wrote about the TV series 13 Reasons Why. Recent US research has examined suicide rates in the month of April 2017 immediately after the screening of the first season, showing an increase of about 30% in suicide among 10 to 17-year-olds, resulting in 197 more deaths in the US than would normally have been expected from April to December of that year. READ MORE


The ICT team would like to firstly thank the students, parents, and caregivers for the way you have all looked after your devices and used them effectively for learning in 2019. There were minimal devices broken or damaged over the year and that is a testament to how the students have been treating their devices within the classroom environment. For a brief update of a few things that were completed this year on behalf of ICT please CLICK HERE 

Excutive Directors Summer Reading Challenge

Taking part in the Executive Directors Summer Reading Challenge is easy! Students just need to read something they enjoy and tell us in 50 words or less why they loved it. The more a student reads, the more times they can enter the reading challenge and the more chances they have of winning one of two Chromebooks or one of thirty runner-up gift vouchers to the value of $30. Students can enter online by visiting the CEDP website.

Entries open on 2 December 2019 and close at 5pm on 2 February 2020. Terms and Conditions can be found here.

The SkoolBag app is the easiest way keep up with school events, last minute notices, newsletters and all school communications.