St John Paul II Catholic College Newsletter

Term 1 - 2020


Dear Parents/Carers and students,

As I have written in previous letters this term the world at present is being challenged by COVID-19 and one which we are learning to navigate together as best we can. Here at St John Paul II Catholic College, our focus is on maintaining the care for each other’s wellbeing. All around us, some people in the community are responding with fear and individualism and we can see that sometimes this is not a dignified way to relate to each other. It is causing unnecessary shortages in supermarkets and unnecessary friction between people. When we only think of ourselves no-one thinks of us. Yet if we look closely, we can see goodness exhibited by many people too which warms the heart.  As a Catholic community, we need to be Christ-focused and look at how we can be of service to others.  

As a result of COVID-19, we have had to cancel many internal school events for the remainder of Term One.  As Principal, I will continue to communicate with you regularly regarding updates and advice and instructions concerning COVID-19.  

I wrote most of the following report at the end of Week 7 and many things have changed in the last few weeks. 

The students arrived with enthusiasm for the year and have been engaged in their learning during this term. I welcome the Year 7 students to St John Paul II, as well the new students in Years 8 -12. We have seen all the new students settling in well and being supported by their peers and teachers who care for them. As we progress through 2020, we will continue to emphasise to all students the need to do their best, care for one another and concentrate on their learning, making the college a place which has a unique and dynamic learning experience.

This year Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta will celebrate the bicentenary of Australia’s first Catholic school through a continued commitment to growing opportunities of Catholic education for all. This milestone will provide the opportunity to learn from one another, inviting the voices, curiosity, and creativity of our students, teachers and parents/carers to celebrate the gifts of faith and learning. 

In owning the history of Catholic schools in Australia, we recognise the hurts of the past. We acknowledge the victims of abuse and injustice and continue to support them in healing together.  We acknowledge the history, stories, and Dreaming of the Darug people. We learn from the wrongs of the past, and these challenges guide us to a future that is accepting, welcoming and proudly diverse.

The history of Catholic education in Australia is far from staid, beginning with Irish insurgency in the early colony. We continue to grow from our beginnings in 1820, acknowledging the spirit, determination, and initiative shown by our earliest lay teachers. 

Ours is a story of courage and determination with heroes like St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, a woman whose extraordinary faith effectively extended the opportunities of education to ordinary Australian children. We continue to grow from the foundations laid by the religious orders and the legacy of the clergy who dedicated their lives to building Catholic schools and their communities. 

The contribution of the earliest Catholic schools transformed access to education for disadvantaged Australians. Today, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta builds on this legacy through leading, transforming learning and teaching and through outreach. Above all, we celebrate all that unites us, and we commit to a hope that defines us, in living out God’s love for one another.

This term we have witnessed other college events which are in addition to the daily timetabled learning and teaching experiences. Some of these events have been our 2019 HSC High Achievers’ Assembly, College Opening Mass/ Ash Wednesday Liturgy, Caritas-Project Compassion Fundraising, Information Evenings, Swimming Carnival, Parent/Principal Chat Groups and our recent Enrolment Open Afternoon/ Evening. Each event has helped develop our great community at St John Paul II and each one has enhanced our community faith formation and educational endeavours.

 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, 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 continued 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

During 2020 we will be creating more opportunities for parents/caregivers/students to receive information about their learning. We have commenced 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.

Staff Update

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), Andrew Valenti (Maths) and Sean Mein – IT Trainee. We also have staff returning from leave, Rebecca Gibson, Naomi Preusker and Nicole Debono. 

Parents Representative Council – Diocese of Parramatta (PRC)

Thank you to Mrs Priscilla Pickering for representing the college at the Parents Representative Council – Diocese of Parramatta (PRC). Please contact me at the college if you wish to be the second representative for St JP II CC for the PRC in 2020.

2021 Enrolment Update

The Open Evening which was held recently highlighted everything that we do here as a community with staff and students displaying our school to the wider community with genuine warmth and enthusiasm. The teaching and support staff are to be congratulated on their professionalism and dedication to the school during the event. Then we had the students assisting throughout the evening with our tour guides performing magnificently.

Our Open Evening attendance numbers should also serve to remind parents and caregivers that it is important to submit enrolment applications promptly to ensure a place at St John Paul II Catholic College in 2021. If you know of a family that wishes to enrol their son/daughter in Year 7 at the college in 2021 please advise them to contact the college to obtain an enrolment information pack prior to the end of term one vacation break. Enrolments are also available for any other students who are not currently at St John Paul II Catholic College, especially Year 11 for 2021. Offers of enrolment letters are currently being sent to families for 2021.

Staff Learning Days

Updated information will be provided if any of the following dates are changed in regards to Staff Learning – Pupil Free Days in 2020, noting the return date to school for all students has not been determined at this time. To assist with your planning, our next Staff Learning - Pupil Free Day is Monday 27 April. The other Staff Learning-Pupil Free Days for this year are Tuesday 9 June, Monday 12 October, Thursday 17 December and Friday 18 December. Please contact the college a week before each Staff Learning-Pupil Free Day if you require supervision for your children on these days at school.

Winter Uniform 

If students return to school at the start of Term 2. The changeover from summer to winter uniform for Term 2 is always difficult to determine with our changing weather patterns. However, we have decided that Week 1and 2 being the changeover period when students can choose to wear winter or summer uniforms –– not a mixture of them –– depending on the weather, with the beginning of Week 3 Monday 11 May being the time all students should be in their Winter Uniform.

Finally, I am always happy to speak to you about your child’s education or issues that affect their education. We  will continue to provide the best learning at school and on line we can as we work nationally in responding to COVID-19. 


“In times like these it’s important not to panic or lose heart. If this pandemic shakes us up and starts us thinking about who or what’s most important to us and what we should be doing with our lives, that can be a good thing.”

Today we ask all to be mindful that as of this time many places of work have been forced to cease trading in the hope of reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

This will have an impact on the economy, but it will also have an impact on many workers.  This in turn will have an impact on families. We live in uncertain times and in many ways, we are all struggling.

We pray for those who are sick.

We pray for those who care for the sick.

We pray for those who will struggle to find work.

And we pray for ourselves: that we can be ambassadors of hope through the patience, care and responsibility we display.

Above all we pray for strength.

The Angelus that we pray each day reminds us that God became present in our world through Jesus. Jesus taught us that all obstacles can be overcome through patience, faith and love. It will be tough. It might seem impossible. But we will get through this.

 In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.



“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son”

Lenten is a time to reflect on the sacrifice Christ made for us and how we in turn respond to this sacrifice in our lives through our actions, interactions and speech. It is an ideal time to talk as a family about how what we do and say reflects our values. READ MORE



Technology and Online Learning

On behalf of ICT we would firstly like to thank the parents/givers for their support in this unprecedented time of Online Learning. We have seen a large majority of students already well equipped to join Google Classroom, Education Perfect, Edrolo and Zoom Online Learning Environments.

ICT would like to advise that students need to be doing the following on a daily basis to maintain a proper online learning environment: 

  • Checking emails on a regular basis 

  • Join Google Classrooms if your teacher has provided you a code

  • Make it known to your teacher that you were present for the lesson, this can be done via:

  • Submission of work

  • Writing a comment in google classroom 

  • Being visible on Zoom

  • Writing questions in the Zoom chat

    Read more ....

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.


All  Assessment Handbooks are available online from the website OR COMPASS Community School Documentation Parent Portal parents/caregivers and students to access.



On 6 February 2020 we honoured our 2019 HSC High Achievers at a whole school assembly. Students who achieved a band 6 and/or a band 5 in at least four courses were presented to the gathered. 

Read more ....


On March 24, students and parents received StJPIICC’s Remote Online Learning Teaching Plan. Though the timeframe from concept to action was very limited, our teachers, students and parents have responded positively to these new changes during these unprecedented times. Feedback from our students can be read here...


On 26 February the College Community came together for Mass to celebrate Ash Wednesday and the opening of the school year. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Catholic Lenten season. 

As a part of the celebration, our new Year 7 students were blessed. Further, we welcomed new staff with the presentation of a College candle and blessing.  

The celebration concluded with the presentation of the 2019 College Principal's Riseup awards.


The Voice Auditions Excursion

On 5th February, Entertainment and Music students from Year 10-12 had the opportunity to go to The Voice Auditions live at Moorebank. Students were immersed in the Entertainment Industry and able to see how backstage aspects work, what industry standard equipment is used and listen to the valuable performance feedback given to performers. Entertainment students were able to see how a production of this scale is put together through sound, lighting, vision and backstage departments. Music students also saw some great performances and heard relevant feedback given by the judges which they can now learn to apply to their own performances.  Read more ...


The first round of Public Speaking was held at St Andrew's College.

Public speaking is understandably a daunting experience for everyone. You spend days thinking about your idea, you spend days writing it to perfection, only to spend a few minutes to deliver it  in front of a crowd. Yet our students delivered exceptionally well as they displayed their insight on current affairs. 

Although most said that the experience was challenging, all the students agreed that it was fun! Most importantly, students voiced that the experience helped develop their confidence in their abilities despite the results. 

In the end, William Spiteri of Year 7 was able to progress to the next round.  Congratulations Will!


On 3 March, the Year 12 Construction class along with Ms Geppert, Mr Claridge and Mr Lewis went to Cath West Innovation Centre at Emu Plains to complete day one of their Brick and Block practical task. 

Students were asked to create a 7 course wall which was 1200mm long. Students learnt the skills for brick laying in a workplace environment. Later the Year 12 class returned to build a free standing pier. 


During Term 1 the Year 8 Italian Club learnt about Carnevale in Italy, known in Australia as Mardi Gras. Every year, Italy celebrates Carnevale with a huge winter festival marked by parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties in the weeks leading up to Lent.

As part of the preparations for this event, students spent their Friday afternoon decorating their own mask which are commonly worn during Carnevale in Venice and tasting various Italian sweets. 


Valentine's day was celebrated a little differently this year. Due to the unprecedented bushfires that took place over the summer break, SRC students were determined to stand in solidarity to raise money for this cause that affected so many families and their homes along with the Australian landscape and its wildlife. Students shared the love by purchasing a rose and a card dedicated to their peers which was distributed during homeroom on Valentine's day. 

During StJPIICC's Open Afternoon, simultaneous groups of parents and students from our extended community were led through our school by our Student Representative Council along with a superstar group of student volunteers. Throughout this important event our dedicated students wore their uniform with pride and they each spoke about their own positive learning experiences at the College. Each tour group began in the gathering area and though each tour duration was a little different, each group concluded back in the gathering area with the same positive responses from parents about the professionalism of our students and the wonderful community we have. 

Please follow us and stay connected on instagram @STJPIICC 


The 2020 Open Day was a resounding success. Our prospective 2021 students and parents were treated to a showcase of classes and activities from across the College including: tasty treats in the hospitality rooms, English word games, number games, athletic displays, scientific experiments, dance and music performances. Take a look!


In March five of our students, accompanied by Mr Lara and Miss Phillips, attended the Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Australia, Equipping Schools Conference!

"All are looking forward to bringing the fire and excitement from this experience, back to our STJPII community! Please pray for them as they continue to grow and experience Christ in the remainder of their experience."



All REP SPORT is currently cancelled for term 1. An update for term 2 will follow when more information is presented.

 On Friday 6th March our students competed at the 2020 Swimming Carnival. Congratulations to Cross House on winning the day on 559 points.

12 years - Georgina Head
13 years - Jodi Wanders
14 years - Sophie Watts
15 years - Makayla Harding
16 years - Ellah-Rose Thornberry
17 years - Lily Fleming

12 years - Harrison Hanebuth
13 years - Lucas Harding
14 years - Carter Jenkin
15 years - Jared Lesaca
16 years - Shawn Hendrickson
17 years - Dante Miles
18 + - James Leys
Read more ....



Dear Parents and Carers

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the financial circumstances of many families in a sudden and unprecedented way. Our long standing principle remains that no child who meets the enrolment criteria will be refused enrolment or disadvantaged because of a family's financial circumstances.

In view of the current situation, it will not be possible to follow our usual process for validation of these circumstances. In good faith, we are taking the following actions:

  • if your family is experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, we ask that you pay what you can when you can
  • we will be suspending any follow up activity with respect to outstanding fees ● we will not be sending statements for Term 2 until there is greater clarity about the duration of the pandemic
  • for excursions that may have been paid for and cancelled, we will be refunding these payments irrespective of whether or not CEDP is able to obtain a refund from the excursion supplier either by crediting back to your account or reimbursement, depending upon what method was used to make the excursion payment
  • in relation to excursions that are merely postponed, we will not take any action at this stage.

Thank you so much for your assistance as we continue to support not just our students in their continued learning but also our dedicated staff.


Mark Holyoake 
Director Enterprise
Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta


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 was Wednesday, 25 March 2020.

Enrolment applications are still available from the website under Enrol Now or you can contact Mrs Fay Lovett on 9208 7200 to enquire further.


Do you have a niggle?

What are the issues you imagine young people have when contacting a counselling service?

Mental health, emotional wellbeing, family relationships, suicide-related concerns, and friend/peer relationships were the top five reasons reported by Kids Helpline (KHL) in the 2018-19 financial year.


Mary Immaculate Parish

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