St Agnes Catholic High School

June Newsletter - Term 3, Week 6 2022

From the Principal

Our Lady’s Feast Days in August

The Catholic Church in August has two Feast Days venerating Our Lady. These Feast Days are the Assumption and Our Lady, Mother and Queen. The doctrine of the Assumption was promulgated in 1951, with its feast on the 15th August. As was normal for the greater feasts, this celebration was echoed for a week afterwards on the 22nd August which is the  memorial of Our Lady, Mother and Queen, and marks the conclusion of that period of celebration.

We remember that the Blessed Virgin reigns in heaven together with her Son. She reigns not because she is in any way equal to God but because she is the Mother of Christ the King. Her privileges come from her willing agreement to become the Mother God and make our redemption possible. 

The Hail, Holy Queen (known as the “Salve Regina” in the original Latin) is one of the most well-known prayers about Mary. It is a prayer of petition, asking Mary for her prayers on our behalf. This prayer is said at the end of the rosary.

Hail Holy Queen Prayer

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy,

hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.

To you we cry, the children of Eve;

to you we send up our sighs,

mourning and weeping in this land of exile.

Turn, then, most gracious advocate,

your eyes of mercy toward us;

lead us home at last

and show us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus:

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


NAIDOC Day at St Agnes

At St Agnes we celebrate diversity. Today we had an opportunity to celebrate this significant event. NAIDOC week is a significant part of our Australian identity as it celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. NAIDOC Week is celebrated by all Australians and is an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about the culture, experiences and histories of indigenous Australians. At St Agnes, students had an opportunity to reflect on how they can Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up? It was a celebration of culture and the achievements of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students were recognised during the Assembly. This Assembly was developed, and led, by our JAECG members (listed below). I would like to thank and commend them for their planning, organising and leading of this day. 

Junior Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (JAECG)

(St Agnes Senior Students) 

Amira Osborne, Aiden Priestley , Eli Kendrigan, Grace Valades, Bailey Wright, Jewel Osborne 

(St Agnes Junior Students)

Elizabeth Vella, Chloe Ross, Kailey Morrison, Shay-Leigh Punter, Aiden Cox, Summer Reynolds

I would like to thank the CEDP Jarara Team, especially Josh Sly and for his presentation at the assemblies and leading workshops throughout the day. 

Congratulations to Mrs Walters - Winner of the Australian Education Rising Star Award

On Friday 12th August,  Mrs Walters and I attended the Australian Education Awards 2022. This was a formal occasion at Pyrmont where Australia's top finalist educators from government and non-government schools gathered.  Mrs Walters was the winner of the Rising Star Award. This is an outstanding achievement and we are so fortunate to have one of Australia’s best teachers teaching at St Agnes. We are very proud of her. 

This award recognised the most outstanding teacher in a school in Australia who has been an educator for five years or less. The following criteria was considered in judging this category:

• Positive impact on students’ learning experiences and outcomes

• Commitment to professional development and collaboration with colleagues to address student learning needs

• Engagement with parents and the wider school community

• Demonstrating a commitment to the education profession and the potential to become a future school leader

Year 12 Update

It has been a busy time for our Year 12 students over the past three weeks. They completed their HSC Trial Examinations on Monday 15th August. The HSC Trial  is a valuable experience for our students as it prepares them for their final HSC Examinations in October. The time between now and their final examinations is a critical time for students to focus on consolidating their knowledge and continue to develop their skills. Everyday counts now is the time to work hard and remain focused.

Our Year 12, Class of 2022 enjoyed a  Wellbeing Day on 16th August. They had a great day and it was a time for the cohort to connect and enjoy some fun time together before the hard work continues. I would like to thank Ms Gale and Mr Di Ienno for organising the day, the Year 12 Learning Advisors and all teachers assisting and participating in the day.

Recently, Year 12 students submitted their major works, for Industrial Technology Timber and Design and Technology. HSC Markers will be coming to St Agnes in the coming weeks to mark the student’s Major Works.

On Friday, 2nd September, all members of the community are welcome to the St Agnes Inaugural Showcase of the Creative Arts Major Works. This will be held at the school from 5.00pm to 8.00pm. There will be a  gallery of Year 12 Visual Arts Major Works on display. The Showcase is an opportunity for all to see the final body of Art our Year 12 students have been completing this year. These major works will be sent off site to be marked externally after this event. There will also be live performances by Year 11 Music students and Year 12 HSC Dance students who, on the 15th August, had the practical component for HSC Dance, examined by external markers.  


Reading Angels

We have successfully launched The Reading Angels program at St Agnes. The Reading Angels is part of a young leadership training program which was initially founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Young adults and high school students are trained in reading to preschoolers and primary school students. 

The purpose of running this program at St Agnes is to empower young people of diverse cultural backgrounds to make a difference in the life of a sibling or relative by improving their literacy skills. Students who volunteer for this program must be available to read to a sibling or relative at-least 3-5 days a week for 10-15 minutes per session.

Miss Fielding has trained our volunteers, taking them through a step-by step guide on how to read to a child. Following the initial training session, students were given additional resources in the form of books plus access to an online platform which helps them develop their skills.

I would like to thank Miss Fielding for her energy and enthusiasm in leading and co-ordinating this program. She has been very pleased with the number of students participating in this program.

School Assemblies Thursday Week 5

Our School Assemblies are an opportunity to recognise the Academic, Community and Sporting  achievements of St Agnes students. Awards for achievements in these different areas are presented to the students.  The assemblies are also a time to communicate and share the major events occurring in the community. The school acknowledged and congratulated students last week.

Creative Hub Building Update

Our new building project is well under way and getting ready for the ground floor concrete slab to be poured within the next 4-5 weeks. Weather has slowed the process but our builders are pushing on despite the challenges. It is really exciting to see the project moving ahead and we look forward to its expected completion Term 4, 2023. 

This building will be home to our new canteen and hospitality facilities, along with TAS rooms for timber works, clean technology such as 3D printing and laser cutting and specialist rooms for Design and Technology subjects. The additional space will expand our creative subjects like Visual Vrts, Photography and Textiles.


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2 September

Year 7 Maths Incursion, Year 8 Maths Incursion, PDSSSC Boys Basketball Gala Day, Year 12 Fundraiser - Cake Stall

S6 Creative Arts Showcase

5 SeptemberAccess Artists - Live Mural Begins
5-9 SeptemberYear 11 Exams
12 - 16 SeptemberScience Week
15 SeptemberHaka Warrior Youth of the Pacific, Vinnies Van 6:30pm
21 SeptemberYear 12 Graduation Mass and Award Ceremony, Report Distribution
22 SeptemberFinal Day of Term 3 for students
23 SeptemberSpirituality Day
12 OctoberHSC Begins - Click HERE to find the timetable

From the Assistant Principal -Learning Transformation

The 2022 Trial HSC Examinations have now concluded and irrespective of which year of schooling your child may currently be undertaking, success in the senior years and especially the HSC is built on the foundations of hard work, organisation and learning from Year 7 - 12. 

Over the Trial HSC period, the teachers have observed a majority of students who are committed to their success; it has been impressive to see most students demonstrating a level of organisation, readiness and punctuality. This will set them up well for the HSC examinations which commence on 12th October.

Building exam experience, preparation and organisation is essential for HSC examinations and all of those important exams preceding them, require specific types of organisation to build exam experience. It is important to note that very strict rules apply for all schools in NSW surrounding exam procedures. 

We teach our students those rules and requirements, following them throughout all examination blocks. This is done so that students in Year 12 are confident, comfortable and organised for their exams and know exactly what they should expect. At St Agnes, we are committed to students building exam experience throughout the high school years. Our upcoming Year 11 Examination Block is an example and sees most examinations being for 2 hours for the 2 unit courses and 1 ½ hours for the 1 unit courses. Students need to gain genuine experience in being organised, resourced and in following examination processes and protocols to ensure success in the HSC.

Ultimate success in the HSC comes from the application of knowledge and skills across a broad range of topics covered in each course. It is not merely enough to know or understand specific content or to master a skill area; students need to be able to apply these to questions that will be unseen and require critical and/or creative thinking. 

Success in the HSC derives from an independent and driven approach to learning with clear and explicit support to focus and craft student’s understanding by our expert teachers. 

Time and experience has taught that often the highest learning growth occurs between the Trial HSC Exams and the HSC Exams if students put in the required effort and act of advice and feedback provided to them. Students and teachers will spend lesson time going through feedback and strategically target those areas that need the most revision, developing further those skills that need some refinement. Ultimately students should be practising past papers and then submit these for feedback. It is this action that has proven to be one the most effective forms of final preparation.

Study Skills Tip for August

Top 10 Tips for parents to manage and communicate expectations about

schoolwork and results

If parental expectations are too low, students may not strive to achieve their personal best. If parental expectations are too high, this can contribute to high levels of student stress. So how can parents find the right balance? Some areas to consider are:

  • Understand your own motivations: Why do you want your child to achieve particular marks in their studies?  Is it because you have pressure from family/friends/society about what your child will achieve?  Do you want them to follow in your career footsteps?  Do you want them to have opportunities you never had as a child or young person?  Understanding your own motivations will help you find balance in your expectations of your children.
  • Help your children to set realistic goals: Keep talking to your children about what they want to achieve, in individual subjects, at school overall and in other aspects of their life.  Their career goals may mean they want to focus intensively on something like art or music, rather than maths or science.  Helping them to identify their goals will enable them to determine what subjects they need to focus on and what marks they are likely to need, which means that effort can be concentrated on the areas which will help them to achieve their goals. 
  • Be involved in your children’s learning: Throughout the term talk to your children about what they are studying.  Ask them to show you their bookwork and homework.  The more you understand about what they are doing and how they are going along the way, the better you will be able to set and manage your expectations.
  • Make sure you really communicate what you expect: Many students feel like they are not meeting their parents’ expectations.  Often this is a result of poor communication about expectations by both parties.  Reflect on your motivations (see 1 above) and think about how you communicate your expectations to your children.  Remember to praise them for the effort they make rather than the results they achieve, this way they are motivated to keep on trying, even when learning is difficult.
  • Develop an understanding of the school’s assessment and reporting structures: Assessment and reporting systems change over time and are different in different schools, states and countries.  Making sure you really understand what your children’s reports mean may help you to understand what they are actually achieving.  Sometimes students are excelling in certain skills or areas, but reporting structures may not highlight these.
  • Remember nobody is perfect: Even the brightest, most highly motivated child will struggle at times.  They may struggle to understand a particular topic or concept, or they may struggle with motivation, particularly for a subject they don’t particularly enjoy.  Problems with teachers or peers can also contribute.  It is unrealistic that anyone can work with 100%  effort all the time.
  • Provide practical homework and exam support: Provide practical help to your children with things like proofreading and reviewing drafts, checking work and listening to speeches.  Remember though, it is not your work, so don’t make changes, rather make suggestions and provide guidance.
  • Spend time together doing something fun: Make sure your relationship with your child is about more than homework and study.  Allocate some time to do fun things together.  This is the time in which your child is most likely to open up to you about the things that they are struggling with and you can work out how best to help them.  Ideas include going for a walk or run together, having a dinner date (even to Maccas) or having them show you the latest funny videos they like.
  • Support your child to do their best: You can do this by providing healthy, nutrient rich food; opportunities for exercise, rest and relaxation and an environment which is supportive of and conducive to study.   
  • Keep alert for the physical and mental signs of stress: Familiarise yourself with how your child responds to stress.  Do they withdraw?  Act out?  Work harder or stop working?  When you notice that your child is stressed provide them opportunities to discuss what is worrying them and work with them to identify how you can help them.  You may wish to involve the school counsellor, a teacher or tutor at this point.

  • Our school’s access details are:

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    Mr G Kemmis

    Assistant Principal - Learning Transformation

    From the Assistant Principal - School Culture

    Sleep tips for Teens?

    Michael Gradisar is a sleep expert from Flinders University. Here are his quick tips for improving your sleep. 

    • At least an hour before bed, turn off video games, YouTube and social media. Try a movie, book or watch TV instead.

    • Lower the brightness on your phone and computer screens at night. Apple’s Night Shift is one way to do this.

    • If you find it hard to wind down, try a mindfulness exercise like one from the Smiling Mind app.

    • Try to sleep the same amount every night. An extra hour, every now and then, is fine – but any more can confuse your body clock. Falling asleep one hour earlier is better than sleeping in one hour later.

    • If you need to get up during the night try to avoid turning on bright lights and hop back into bed quickly.

    • Avoid caffeine at least six hours before you go to bed.

    • If you can, avoid napping during the day. 

    Attendance and Punctuality

    It is extremely important to attend school each and every day. Just two weeks off per year results in a year’s worth of education missed over the course of a child’s schooling. While it is important to stay home if you are unwell, each day matters and students must make every effort to attend if they are able to do so. 

    Punctuality is also an important part of life and one which shows attitude and commitment. This commitment to learning is valued by St Agnes and we would appreciate support in ensuring that students are at school each and every day BEFORE 8:10am. We do understand that the parking and traffic conditions are not ideal, but forward planning can help to offset these issues.

    The staff are only too happy to help in all aspects of schooling so please feel free to contact your child’s Learning Mentor or Leader of Learning Pathways if you need assistance with attendance and punctuality. Families will be contacted for attendance meetings and letters will be sent home if attendance and punctuality continue to be a problem. 

    Return of correspondence information

    Further to the attendance concerns is the return of correspondence sent out by the school. It is important to return information quickly and via the correct channels to ensure that all the relevant information is known in a timely fashion. In regards to attendance, families can either enter reasons for lateness and absence via the Compass App or bring in a note on the first day of return back to school. If 5 days have passed and the school has not received any correspondence, then the absence will be marked as unexplained and will be marked on the report as such. CEDP policy and legislation dictates that after 5 days this cannot be changed.

    Family Skills Clinic - Free Sessions

    Mt Druitt Learning Ground will be hosting their first Family Skills workshop for this term which will begin next Tuesday the 28th August 2022 from 10:30am to 1:30pm. 

    This session will be to exchange knowledge on communicating with kids between the ages of 2-16. The program is free and researched based and family tested.  Lunch will be included.

    Linked is the the Family Skills Workshop facebook page, that also contains further information and dates for future workshops.

    The Program will be run by Melissa Hood and Cassandra Jackson.  

    If you are interested or have any further questions, please don't hesitate to email 

    From the Head of Mission

    Father’s Day - Sunday 4th September

    This is a time where we come together to thank those men, or male role models, in our lives for all they do for us and our families. Father's Day is a day of honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. Father’s Day can also be a time for reflecting and remembering those father’s, or father figures, who are no longer with us. 

    A prayer for Father’s 

    Dear Lord, 

    Bless every father and grandfather with the best of your spiritual blessings.

    Let him know that he is not alone in the tasks you have given him to provide and care for those under his care.

    Please show him how much you delight in his work, and confirm his worth so he has no reason to doubt that he is loved in the eyes of his 

    Heavenly Father, Amen

    Peace and blessings, 

    Faith In Action Team is calling on you!

    Be part of a great opportunity coming to St. Agnes! The Faith In Action Team (FIAT) program is an initiative with a focus on growing our communities Christian spirituality through experience and practice. It involves engaging the school community through charity and living through the example of Christ in order to promote faith within our St Agnes community. 

    We will be calling on students from Year 7-11 to be involved in this faith-based student body. As FIAT members you will be meeting periodically with Mr Goco and Mr Zucco, as a group, to discuss scripture, faith and charity initiatives. You will lead and participate in charity fundraisers, faith-based events in school and across the Parramatta Diocese. 

    Mr Goco - Team Leader

    Our Faith In Action Team, this term, will be partnering with the Jesuit Social Services (JSS), a social change organisation working to build a just society where all people can live to their full potential. 

    Our school will be collecting food and raising funds for the JSS program Ignite Food Store, a store which provides affordable groceries for the Mount Druitt community. Our Year 9 and 10 members have developed a number of initiatives to promote donations and foods for the Ignite Food Store such as a food snail trail, bake sale and a house competition tied in with the food drive. 

    This term our Year 9 and 10 students will be running a bake stall to call for donations to purchase goods for the Ignite food store. We kindly ask students and families, if possible, to donate any food items from the list below. All donations regardless of the amount will help someone less fortunate, so please feel free to give what is within your means.

    • Coffee/Milo/Tea bags/Nesquik/Hot chocolate
    • Breakfast Cereals
    • Spreads - Honey/Vegemite/Peanut Butter/Nutella/Jams
    • Cake Mixes/Sugar/Flour/Jelly
    • Assorted long life milk
    • Cordials/Juices/Poppers
    • Muesli Bars/LCM Bars
    • Biscuits –Sweet/Savoury/Rice cracker/Crackers
    • Pasta Sauces/Simmer sauces
    • Rice/Pasta
    • 2 minute noodles/cup noodles/Cup-a-Soups etc
    • Canned goods – Soups/Canned Vegetables/Ready to eat meals/Tuna/ etc
    • Chutney/Relish/Mustard/Pickles
    • Sauces – Tomato/BBQ/Worcestershire/Soy etc
    • Mayonnaise/Salad Dressing
    • Baby food/Formula/Baby wipes/Nappies – Large sizes (toddlers upwards)
    • Household Cleaning Products/Laundry Powder
    • Toilet Rolls/Tissues

    Mr Zucco - Team Leader

    STAGE 4 Religion Update

    Students in Year 7, this term, are learning about the Bible in the unit “Literary form of the Bible”  learning about the different books in the Bible and the literal and figurative meaning of the stories. Students have engaged in interpreting the meaning of Scripture and making connections with their own personal experiences.

    In Year 8, students have concluded learning about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We have investigated the Church teachings on sin, healing, forgiveness and the stages of the Reconciliation process. Our next unit, they will be learning about the 'Religions of the World' where we will be looking at the Religious practices in Judasim, Islam, Hindusim and Buddhism. 

    Students in Year 7 arranging the books of the Old Testament

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    Around the Classrooms

    Vinnies Van

    On Thursday, 18 August, three teachers and three students—Mr Di Lenno, Mr Mangion, Mrs Karafotias, Eva Norton, Olivia Solis, and Grace Valades had the privilege of heading out to Mt Druitt and Parramatta with the 'Vinnies Van'. On this night we offered food, drinks, warm clothes and blankets, and a friendly chat to all those who came and needed some extra support. The service is open to, not only, those living on the street but also those who are marginalized, socially isolated, and/or struggling financially, mentally, physically, etc. We are here to let them know that we care, we see their struggle, and they deserve help. When we first think of people experiencing homelessness and other kinds of struggles, we may think that they are violent or angry, but stereotypes like this lead us away from the truth. The people we meet on nights like this are friendly, extremely funny, knowledgeable, and just there to have a friend to chat to and receive support. It is important to not let negative stereotypes cloud our judgement and feelings towards others. We are all a part of the same community, and we all deserve the same opportunities.

    Participating in Vinnies Van is an unforgettable, rewarding experience for all those involved. Not only do you get to help members of the community, but you also get to learn so many things—the kind of stuff you can find with a metal detector, the science behind religion, the varying experiences of people in our community. Did you know there are 32 possums in Parramatta Park? There are three to four in each tree and they love to be fed (carrots especially)!

    I’ll always remember the people that I meet, their experiences, and the things I learn when I’m out with the Vinnies Van. To anyone who is on the fence about participating, I highly recommend volunteering! You can participate through the school in Year 11, or contact Vinnies themself when you are over 16. It is a positive experience that you will carry with you forever.

    Grace Valades

    Year 11 Student

    Youth of the Pacific Update:

    Last Thursday Cadence Autagavaia, Shilohbella Tuuina, Jocelyn Graf and Talia Afungia attended PCYC Blacktown to practice the leadership Haka, followed by performing it with other leaders across 15 schools (representing over 531 students participating in the program) at Penrith Stadium. The leaders performed the leadership Haka with the key messages of unity, respect, self-worth and resilience. Students will be participating in an upcoming competition on 15th September 2022. We wish all the students the very best. Penrith Panthers have also uploaded a video of the performance for you to watch.

    Extra-Curricular Spotlight - Xavier Perry

    Year 10 Commerce Stalls

    Year 10 Commerce students created a colourful, bustling marketplace in the playground last week. The food stalls were the culmination of their studies learning how to set up and run a business. Students had to manage the financial aspects, choose a product, and the challenge of having everything ready and making sales.Well done Year 10!!

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander State Education Conference

    From the Careers Advisor

    National Skills Week

    The 2022 National Skills Week will take place on 22-28 August with the theme, 'A Universe of Skills: Go Beyond Your Imagination.'

    National Skills Week, now in its 12th year, is dedicated to informing students of all ages about the new and upcoming careers that are available. The challenge is to provide potential students, parents and carers with clear information on possible career pathways, training options, emerging new skills areas and VET courses.

    Participate in #bestjobsever program or contact your careers adviser if you would like to get involved in some work experience, an apprenticeship or traineeship, or a VET course with TAFE NSW. 


    About this event

    Year 12, 2022 HSC Senior Showcase for Creative Arts

    • Come and celebrate the inaugural showcase of Year 12 Creative Arts Major Works
    • The exhibition is on in the Alverna Performance space for one night only!
    • Live music from our Year 11 HSC Music students as well as dance performances from Year 12 Dance
    • Light refreshments will be provided
    • Family and friends welcome
    • Our event is proudly sponsored by Eckerleys Art and Craft. There will be a prize draw for 2 x $50 Eckersleys gift vouchers


    Holiday Short Courses

    ...............................CHANGE OF UNIFORM SHOP HOURS..........................


    Monday 8am - 12pm    AND   Wednesday 12pm - 3.30pm

    Compass parent app

    Compass will become our primary parent communication tool for day-to-day operational matters, upcoming events, notices and notifications so it is essential that all parents download the app.

    It is more important than ever that we are able to communicate effectively, especially when it involves the safety of our children. If you haven't already, we ask that parents download the Compass app onto your device for either Apple or Android. 

    Compass is a web-based system allowing you to access up-to-date and meaningful information about our school and your child’s progress. Compass includes many different features, including the ability to:

    • Be informed of important updates, events and reminders
    • View your child’s timetable
    • Review your child’s attendance
    • Provide explanations for periods of absence
    • Update your contact details
    • Book Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences.

    Compass is accessible on any modern web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) or by using the Compass iOS or Android apps.

    Canteen News

    Eligible students can receive free travel to and from home and school on approved metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail during term.  Apply now.

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