St Agnes Catholic High School

October Newsletter - Term 4, Week 3 2022

From the Principal

Dear Parents, Students and Staff ,

Welcome to Term 4. During  this term we get to see and to celebrate the culmination of a year of learning and personal growth. In the coming weeks our teachers and students will finalise the assessment that will then be reflected in our Semester 2 reports and in the determination of our end of year awards. Once again encourage students to give their personal best for the rest of the year. Our St Agnes Way of Being articulates in our pillars of integrity and compassion, that we all aspire to grow and support one another.

In Term 4 we get to see and to celebrate the culmination of a year of learning and personal growth. In the coming weeks our teachers and students will finalise their assessment programs that will then be reflected in our Semester 2 reports and in the determination of our Annual School Awards. In the first two weeks of this term I have met with many year groups to strongly encourage our students to work hard and to take up all of the great opportunities that they have here at the School. Our focus is on doing one’s personal best each day: always seeking to be a good person and a good student is our core message.

World Teachers’ Day

Today is World Teachers’ Day in Australia. On this day we acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional work of our teachers. It is important that we take some time to thank them for all that they do for our students and the school community. I am always inspired and impressed by the generosity and care shown for our students by the staff at St Agnes. As an illustration, in recent weeks our teachers and staff have given countless hours to supporting our current Year 12 students as they undertook their final preparations for the HSC. This is simply one example of how our teachers support our students and I know that there are so many more ways our teachers go the extra mile for our students, in the academic, sporting, social and extra curricular activities.

God of Love, Thank you for every teacher who notices a child’s special gift. Thank you for teachers who are listeners and gentle guides.

Thank you for teachers who expect much and love enough to demand more. Thank you for the special teacher each one of us remembers.

God of Mercy, Sustain teachers who give everything they have. Strengthen teachers who assume the blame for so many problems beyond their control. Help exhausted teachers rest. 

God of Strength, Encourage teachers to care and inspire them to nourish. Motivate teachers to keep on learning for the fun of it and to make learning enjoyable for children.

We wonder at teachers who know how to quiet a class of five year olds or help fourth graders be empathetic. We admire teachers who enjoy middle school writers, or teach physics or math of history. Bless the people who are expected to accomplish these miracles and who know how to comfort children when miracles don’t happen.

God of Justice, help and support teachers in their special calling, wherever they teach and whatever obstacles they must face. We pray these things in the name of our great teacher, Jesus Christ.


Source - National Catholic Education Association

Year 11 and 12 

Year 12 students are approaching the end of their coursework and their Trial Examinations commence Term 3, Week 3. Before this, many students have major works that contribute to their final HSC.

Similarly, Year 11 students are nearly half way through their courses as their Year 11 Examination Block occurs late Term 3. A practical way to support your sons and daughters is by ensuring that they have a dedicated quiet time and space each evening to complete work and study. 

Year 11 2023 Subject Selection Evening

On Wednesday, 27th April, St Agnes held its Year 11 2023 Subject Selection Information Session. The focus of the afternoon was to inform students and parents of the possibilities beyond Year 10. Thank you to the parents  and the students who took the time to attend this meeting. This was an important afternoon because it commences the transition to Year 11 for our Year 10 cohort. At St Agnes we strive to make sure that our young people are future ready. The way we do this is by connecting them to purpose, linking them with the most relevant tertiary and industry opportunities and, by immersing them and exposing them to a range of experiences in and out of the classroom. We are fortunate that we have multiple partnerships with various universities and the wider community. I would like to thank all of the teachers who attended this meeting and presented. A special thanks to Mr Kemmis, Mrs Tomich and Mr Scarpin for organising the night. 

Year 12 2023 Leadership

A few weeks ago we announced our SRC and Diversity leaders. Student leadership is important at St Agnes because it’s an opportunity for our students to take active roles in our school community and develop positive skills in the process. The SRC and Diversity student leaders role is to create a culture of ownership, collaboration and community in the classroom and beyond.

Our SRC Leaders for 2023 are Favour Gueh and Heleana Soriano and our Diversity Leader for 2023 is Akon Angara. These students will be outstanding St Agnes leaders and I would like to congratulate them. 

I would like to thank  Mr. Cruickshank and Ms. Raad for working with our Year 11 students and organising the Leadership selection process. 

Catholic Schools NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Conference 2022

The performance of our indigenous students at Leura was spectacular at the Catholic Schools NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Conference 2022 and should be applauded. A large group of our indigenous students have been involved in an extended program of cultural workshops this year with Josh Sly and Darren from Muggera Dance. The culmination of their work was seen on Thursday when our students combined with groups from two other local catholic schools to perform a number of cultural dances as part of the morning prayer and reflection for the 550 guests at the conference. Despite an early start, departing from school at 6:00am, and then having to brave very cold conditions on the lawns of the resort complex, the performance of our students was outstanding, and they held the entire audience spellbound for 15-20 minutes as they worked through a number of traditional dances, interspersed with explanations of the cultural significance of each item by the Muggera mentors. 

Delegates from the various Catholic Education Diocese, indigenous groups and schools across the state expressed their tremendous admiration and appreciation for the performance in discussions afterwards. The students were then treated to a sumptuous and well deserved hot breakfast by CEDP for their efforts. Thank you to the St Agnes Staff, Miss Clark, Miss Fielding, Ms Karafotias and Ms Penna who worked with the Jarara team and our students giving them guidance and encouragement throughout the many workshops and rehearsals leading up to the event.

Year 9 Camp

Year 9 enjoyed themselves at their Peer Support Leadership Camp at Narrabeen last week. The feedback from the students was positive and when I attended the camp I was pleased to see the students enjoying themselves and participating in a range of leadership activities and a liturgy in the evening. Thank you to Ms Gale and Ms Collins for organising the camp, also the staff who gave up two days away from their families to attend the camp; , Mr DiIenno, Ms Dunne, Mr Fisara, Ms Fielding, Mr Fisher, Mr Goco, Ms Dahdah and Mr Mburu. 

Year 12 2023 Retreat

Year 12 2023 return from their Collaroy Retreat today. I am looking forward to hearing, and reporting in the next newsletter, students reflections. Thank you to Mr Madigan and Mr Sadsad for their meticulous planning and itinerary of the Retreat. Thank you to Mr Cruickshank, Mr Dempsey, Mrs Karafotias, Ms Udovicic, Miss Phillips, Miss Raad and Mr Zucco for giving up time away from your families in order to provide this beneficial retreat for our Year 12 students. Thank you for the contribution you have all made to ensuring it runs smoothly. 

From the Assistant Principal - Learning Transformation

The beginning of any new term in a school, particularly Term 4, is always filled with energy and excitement about the events, learning and opportunities that will come. In the coming weeks our teachers and students will finalise the assessment programmes that will then be reflected in our Semester 2 reports and recognised in our Academic Awards, a time when we will be able to celebrate the culmination of a year of learning. 

The 2022 Higher School Certificate commenced quite smoothly on Wednesday 12th October. All reports from our students have been very positive. In speaking with a number of our students, I am hearing that they are feeling relatively calm, prepared and glad that the exams are going well for them. However, all are looking forward to a well earned break when the exams conclude at the end of Week 4. 

On Monday 31st October, each student in Years 7 to 10 will complete the Progressive Achievement Tests in Reading (PAT-R). This test will give the school an indication of where the students are at in regard to their skills of reading. As we know, reading is a vital skill that allows you to access information for whatever pathway they choose to pursue. The PAT-R test ties rather well with NAPLAN. This allows us to track your child’s progress from year to year. The timetable for the testing can be found on Compass. All students must bring a fully charged device to school for the test.

STUDY SKILLS -  Tip for October Seven Ways Mindfulness and Meditation Can be Helpful to Students

Do you experience feelings of anxiousness? Why not give meditation a go? It can be as simple as closing your eyes, breathing deeply and counting your breaths in and out. There are lots of great Apps out there, for example ‘Mindfulness’, ‘Headspace’, ‘Relax’ and ‘Positivity’. These will guide you through simple meditation and mindfulness exercises. You could even try the new mindfulness colouring-in books for adults that are all the rage. But what is it all about and why should you try it?

What is Mindfulness?

Headspace ( defines mindfulness as “the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgement, with a soft and open mind”. 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a way of transforming the mind, making it calm and silent.  According to the Australian Teachers of Meditation Association meditation is a discipline that involves turning the mind and attention inward and focusing on a single thought, image, object or feeling. 

How does meditation and practising mindfulness help you with your schoolwork?

  •  Reduces anxiety and risk of depression - By becoming mindful, a person stops judging themselves and those around them and recognises that every situation “is what it is”.  When you stop judging and comparing, you are able to reduce anxiety.
  • Increases resilience - resilience is the ability to experience something bad but to not internalise it and to be able to move on, still gaining benefit even from a negative experience.  Practising mindfulness and meditation quietens the mind and enables acceptance without judgement, which is key for achieving resilience.
  • Improves ability to learn and recall information - research by the University of Miami has shown that practising mindfulness for 12 minutes a day improved attention and memory.
  • Improves concentration - regular practice of meditation may help improve concentration by enabling the brain to focus more accurately and to filter out unwanted or unhelpful messages.
  • Improves creativity - practising mindfulness and meditation has the potential to allow the brain to unlock and unleash creativity.  Creativity is of benefit to all students, not just in terms of artistic talents but also in relation to problem solving.
  • Helps manage exam stress - meditation can help you calm and focus your mind which helps to manage stress related to exams.  This tool can be used in the lead up to the exam and also during the exam if stress levels begin to rise.
  • Leads to better sleep - getting enough sleep is crucial to ensure students have the mental and physical energy to learn.  However, as academic and social pressures increase, this can lead to students having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.  By reducing anxiety and stress you can ultimately sleep better and longer.

You can learn in the Managing Stress unit at by logging in with these details: 

Our school’s subscription details are -

Username: stagnes

Password: 24success

From the Head of Mission

Spirituality Day

Pace e Bene - peace and blessings to all of the St Agnes community.

At the end of Term 3, the staff came together for our Staff Spirituality Day, where we continued our immersion into Franciscan Spirituality, by getting to know St Francis, his teachings and his turn away from a life of privilege to a life dedicated to God and to the service of those most in need within his community. We were guided through this day by Br Matthew Timonera OFM Cap, who came to us through the Franciscan Friary at Leichhardt. 

As we have a lot of new staff coming into our community this year, and as a staff to receive new witness to St Francis, Br Matthew provided us with a comprehensive presentation relating to our charism. It was evident throughout the presentation that there is a lot to St Francis that we are unaware of.

St Francis of Assisi often questioned and struggled with the work and actions of the Friars. He himself had been a cause of change in the Church. His way of life had challenged, energised, and changed the Church. The Church in turn, invited the Friars into new pastoral and missionary work that St Francis had never envisioned. He watered the tree and wild new growth occurred.

I would like to thank Br Matthew for working with our community and look forward to having the Friars become more prominent in our community.  Thank you to Mr Sadsad (Assistant Leader of Mission) for all of his hard work and contributions to this day.

All Saints Day - Tuesday 1st November

All Saints day is a holy day of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated on the 1st November each year. The day is dedicated to the Saints of the Church, mainly those who have obtained heaven. All Saints day observances tend to recognise those Saints who have been formally recognised in the canon of Saints in the Church. All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints.

All Souls Day - Wednesday 2 November

All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honouring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.

A Servant Leader

Source - Catholic Outlook

St Agnes Catholic High School Principal Jeanette Holland loves the Rooty Hill community she serves, her staff and most importantly, students. Yet when asked about her role as a school leader, she quickly turns the conversation to those around her.

“I’d prefer to talk about the school, the students and our great teachers rather than me front and centre. I want to celebrate the things that we all do,” Jeanette said.

St Agnes Catholic High School is a proudly culturally diverse co-educational Years 7 to 12 school. From its humble beginnings in 1962, St Agnes Catholic High School has grown from a school of just 27 girls to a vibrant community of 865 students. With a strong focus on sharing their Franciscan charism through all they do, the school looks to serve the community, others in need and seeks to make a genuine difference.

Leading this community requires the type of leader who not only has a deep understanding of learning and teaching but who values the importance of building relationships to bring people together for a common purpose.

“It is not just about me,” Jeanette said. “My role is to serve the community, that is really important. The work we do in schools is relational, whether it is in the classroom or in the staffroom, so it starts with getting to know each other as people,” she said. “It’s all about caring about others, not being removed from them. It is about being on the ground, building relationships, working things through and being present to the students, the staff and the parents. It’s not leadership, it’s leading,” she said. “Anyone can talk themselves up, you need someone who walks the talk.”

“It’s all about caring about others, not being removed from them. It is about being on the ground, building relationships, working things through and being present to the students, the staff and the parents. It’s not leadership, it’s leading.”

Careers Advisor and teacher Nashwa Karafotias, who leads many of the school’s outstanding programs to support students from culturally diverse backgrounds, said this approach instills a positive culture of mutual respect at St Agnes.

“Jeanette treats staff and students on an equal playing field bringing consistency and a new perspective to all that she does,” said Nashwa. “She is the true definition of a servant leader leading at the ground level.”

Jeanette previously served as Assistant Principal and Acting Principal of Marian College Kenthurst and most recently worked within the Learning team at Catholic Education, but said she was drawn to St Agnes because of the community.

“I thought I could make a difference here and the students are lovely, so respectful and grateful,” Jeanette said. “For our school, we have to be very aware of cultural context and communication because of the diversity. We offer pathways leadership opportunities looking at the students holistically, identifying where they are at, opening their worlds to where they can go, guiding them to achieve their goals.”

Being an advocate for students and building their confidence to achieve is a top priority.

“Self-efficacy is really important and we really look at how we can help to build that up in the students so they can look at themselves as learners and know that they can do anything – work hard, overcome obstacles and achieve,” she said.

Jeanette also comes to supporting teachers with this same view. Her colleague Lauren Walters, who just won the Australian Schools Plus Early Career Teacher Award in the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards, says Jeanette is the best boss she’s ever had.

“Jeanette is a truly inspiring leader. Since coming to St Agnes, Jeanette has taken the time to get to know each and every one of her staff, learning their professional interests and strengths, and providing opportunities for us to explore those interests, Lauren reflects. “She has a real team mentality, welcoming and appreciating our input into decisions. What’s in the best interest of the students underpins everything that she does.”

As Jeanette herself reflected: “Leadership isn’t about being centre stage, it is about putting other people forward and giving them a voice and an opportunity to lead. It is about building capacity in others, working with and assisting them in their leadership.”

“I guess you could call that being a servant leader.”

This article was originally published in the 2022 Season of Creation | Spring 2022 edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine. 


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31 October

Year 11 reports Distributed

Year 7-10 PAT R Testing

1 November

All Saints Day

2 NovemberAll Souls Day
7 November

Stage 5 Exams Commence

Year 12 Sign Out Day

10 NovemberYear 12 Formal
17 NovemberVinnies Van
18 NovemberYear 9 (only) Learn from Home Day

Student Achievements

Brooklyn O'Brien - First Place - Captivate’s Arts Factor Eisteddfod

As the 2022 year rolls on, we continue to celebrate the success in the Creative Arts at St Agnes.

One of our talented vocalists, Brooklyn O’Brien, was selected to participate in the Captivate Arts Factor Eisteddfod on 8th October at Chisholm College, Glenmore Park. The Arts Factor Eisteddfod is a chance to share student creative work with other schools in the Diocese. It also gives students the opportunity to take what they have been learning and perform for an audience outside of their immediate school community.

Brooklyn was placed 1st  for her vocal performance of Black Velvet  against many other secondary vocalists across the Diocese. 

This is not only a great win for Brooklyn, who is a passionate vocalist, but also for St Agnes as a school that is developing a strong Music and Creative Arts culture. 

Congratulations on your great achievement Brooklyn.

Mr Cheung and Ms D’Aprille

Xavier Perry - Gold Gold Gold at the NSW All Schools Athletics

Congratulations Xavier Perry. The NSW All Schools Athletics Championships meet was full of stunning performances and great racing but Xaviers performance was outstanding. His triple gold performance entailed a win in   the 100m, 200m and 400m racing.

Alannah Martin - Gold at the NSW All Schools Championship

Congratulations Alannah Martin. A spectacular effort at the NSW All Schools Championship throwing 47.97 metres to win the 4kg 19 years event.

Around the Classrooms

HSC Creative Arts Senior Showcase

Last term night saw the opening of the first ever HSC Creative Arts Night here at St Agnes. 

It was a great night as the school was transformed with artworks, dance and music. For the first time in along time as well, we were able to have a live audience to celebrate the creative talents of the many students.

With over 100 guests from the community and our families in attendance, the atmosphere and buzz could be felt throughout the night.

Our Year 11 students were able to showcase their various musical skills with some great performances by the first ever Music 1 class accompanied by Ms D’Aprile, Mr Di Ienno and Mr Cecire. It was great to see the variety of talent on show from various performers including, soloists and bands. The Year 11 Visual Arts students also showcased their talents with their various mixed media expressive landscape artworks.

The highlight of course was the Year 12 class of 2022 with Dance and Visual Arts. The Visual Arts students were able to show their Bodies of Work (major works) before they hit the NESA marking centre. Again, the variety of talent on show was exceptional with students delving into various expressive forms - painting, drawing, graphic design, mixed media and even an immersive installation piece. The Dance cluster class also did not disappoint with Rita and Hannah Rae performing their major work dance pieces in our studio space.

After years of lockdowns, it was great to see the achievements of Year 12  finally brought to life and enjoyed by the St Agnes community. 

The night could not have happened if it were not for the efforts of our teachers and students involved. I would like to thank the Creative Arts team: Ms D’Aprille, Mr Di Ienno, Mr Cecire, Mr Zucco, Ms Millwood, Ms Gale, Mr Mangion and Mr Walton. In particular a huge thank you to Mr Vellio and Mr Camilleri from our IT department for their invaluable help running the technology and lighting. To the teachers who gave up their time to assist on the night - Ms Raad, Ms Udovicic, Ms Chapman, Ms Phillips, Ms Walters and Ms Dunne, thank you.

A big thank you to the Year 11 students who volunteered and Favor Gueh who MC-ed on the night.

Mr Cheung

Leader of Learning CAPA

Vinnies Van - October 2022

On Thursday, 20 October, four year 11/12 students; Krish Patel, Grace Valades, Michelle Clarke and Annabelle Kayrouz, alongside 3 teachers; Miss Raad, Mr Sadsad and Mrs Karafotias went to the Vinnies van night patrol. We travelled from the Vinnies headquarters to Mount Druitt and then to Parramatta Park. The weather was on our side with a little bit of light sprinkle of rain, otherwise, it was an amazing night, with memories that'll last forever. We had the opportunity to help people in need and it opened our eyes to major real life issues amongst the world. Even though we only got to help a small number of people that are facing the struggles of homelessness, poverty and domestic violence, it was a life changing experience. 

As year 12 students, with an adequate standard of living, we were oblivious and naive to these issues that are happening every day. As young people we have a voice to speak up and stand strong for those in need, even if that means devoting a partial amount of time once a month to helping those less fortunate. It is heartwarming to see such positive and strong attitudes among the people we meet. The friendly faces we saw, and emotional stories we heard impacted the way we view society. 

It helped us understand that anyone can become less fortunate, but that doesn't mean that they stay disadvantaged. 

We strongly encourage students to recognise the Franciscan Way to help those in need.  You should not see this as merely an extracurricular activity but see this as an opportunity we get to help others. Being fortunate enough to do so as catholic school students we must feed the hungry and dress the undressed, which not only allows us to give back to our community but to also get closer to Christ.

Annabelle Kayrouz and Krish Patel

Great News! The Chess Club is back!

After two years, the Chess Club is finally back every Tuesday at lunch time in the Library. 

This Tuesday sixteen students turned up to play with friends, but also learn from friends. This was a great turn up and we are looking forward to seeing the Chess Club grow.

There are many benefits from learning Chess: 

  • it Improves cognitive skills such as concentration, pattern recognition, decision making, algebraic and geometric thinking, problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking.
  • it improves self-confidence and self-worth.
  • it Increases attention span and memory capacity.
  • it teaches good sportsmanship and encourages social interactions.

As the great philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal said  “Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.”

So all are welcome to come along and train your minds! 

Mrs Nash

Chess Club Activity

St Agnes Teachers Were Transformed With the Spirit at Catholic Schools NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Conference 2022

On the 11th, 12th and 13th October, a group of St Agnes teachers and leaders, including the Principal Ms Holland, attended the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education NSW State Conference. The teachers who represented St Agnes included, Miss Clark, Ms Penna, Mrs Karafotias, Miss Fielding and Ms Gale. We were welcomed to Country with an atmospheric beginning, including a symbolic smoking ceremony and reflections led by Uncle Chris Tobin.  

The conference was held on the traditional lands of the Gundungurra and Dharug peoples, overlooking the scenic Blue Mountains. The smell of eucalyptus leaves and the beautiful natural landscape contributed to the overall feel and warmth of the event. Upon arrival the team noticed the large banners displayed in Fairmont Resort showcasing students from the Diocese, including our very own Alkira Field. The banners added an intimate touch and acted as a visual representation of identity and culture. These banners reinforced that the focus of the conference was on improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through Closing the Gap. In addition to this, the symbol of the dragonfly was prevalent throughout the conference, used to represent growth, transformation and beauty. Uncle Chris Tobin introduced the dragonfly as the ‘Sky Spirit’ and told a story of how some of the natural wonders in the Blue Mountains came to be as a result of ‘Sky Spirit.’ The ‘Sky Spirit’ was created from a rainbow that was cracked by strong winds. Uncle Chris explained that the story of the ‘Sky Spirit’ reminds us of God's presence within our life, stating “God is still with us even when our world starts to crack and shatter.”

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Education NSW State Conference was proudly hosted by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta and Catholic Schools NSW, with over 500 delegates in attendance. Prominent leaders from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community shared their insights during the convention. Leaders included Wiradjuri woman, Professor Anita Heiss and Isaiah Dawe a Butchulla and Gawara Saltwater man, who is the founder and CEO of ID. Know Yourself, an Aboriginal-led mentoring service for First Nations children. Further speakers included the Minister for Indigenous Australians Hon Linda Burney and the Senior Australian of the Year 2021 Dr Aunty Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baunmann. Dr Aunty Miriam Rose is a prominent and remarkable figure in the Aboriginal community and was the first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher in the Northern Territory. As part of her contribution to the conference, Miriam discussed the importance of a cohesive society that supports and encourages education and inspires young people to achieve their potential. 

The agenda for the three days was jam packed providing opportunities for participants to engage in a culturally immersive and educational program. Yearning Circles, Weaving Workshops, On Country Experiences, Concurrent information sessions, Aboriginal Astrology and Artwork opportunities were provided to participants. A particular highlight included the performance from Eric Avery, violinist, vocalist, dancer and composer of the Ngiyampaa, Yuin and Gumbangirr people of NSW.  

The conference also provided a platform for schools and educators to share their journey towards Closing the Gap. As the number of first nations students in Catholic schools continues to grow annually, improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait outcomes must be prioritised by all schools within the Diocese. St Agnes was very proud to contribute to the discussion on Closing the Gap, presenting our journey as a school through our Reconciliation Action Plan, Student Personalised Plans and teaching of Aboriginal Studies. St Agnes is committed to bringing about change and working with our first nations families to create an environment that is community driven, collaborative and inclusive. We also felt incredibly lucky to connect with colleagues from other schools and engage with discussions about Post School Options and community engagement programs. 

Perhaps the most inspiring and heartwarming part of the conference was watching the cultural performance from the CEDP Senior Dance Group which took place on the final day and was performed on Country, outside of the resort. This group included students from Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown, St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill and St Clare’s Catholic High School Hassall Grove. Students dressed in traditional cultural clothing and braced the cold and windy conditions. Our St Agnes students included Jewel Osborne, Eli Kendrigan, Bailey Wright, Summer Reynolds, Aidan Cox, Kyle Eastwood, Shayleigh Punter, Chloe Ross, Caidence Tompkin French, Elizabeth Vella and Grace Valades. The group of students represented the school with pride and embraced the opportunity to explore their cultural identity. We felt incredibly privileged to celebrate these students and their success.

Overall the conference was a huge success and provided opportunities for our teachers to contribute to meaningful discussion and network to bring about change. The key message upon our return is Transform your Spirit. The second message is a call to action to Vote Yes in the Referendum!

Miss Fielding

HSIE Teacher

Year 9 Camp - Moments of perseverance and patience

On Tuesday, 18th October, our Year 9 cohort embarked on an overnight camp to the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation Centre. Located on the northern beaches (Eora Country), the Academy of Sport was an ideal venue for the students to be surrounded by natural bushland and magnificent views of Narrabeen Lake. 

The camp was a wonderfully adventurous experience for all and an opportunity for students to extend their leadership skills and ability by participating in a range of land and water activities. The challenges set by the instructors and teachers were all met with enthusiasm and integrity. 

The Year 9 students were a credit to the school community and received positive praise from not only the teachers that were attending, but also the camp instructors were impressed with the level of inclusivity and cooperation from all of the students. 

The camp was designed to assist the selection process for Peer Support Leadership in 2023. Throughout the Know Your Learner lessons in Term 4 there has been, and will continue to be, a strong emphasis on leadership styles and students will have the opportunity to nominate themselves to be a Peer Support Leader in 2023.

Peer Support leadership is a significant role in the school. These students will have a vital role in helping our Year 7 2023 students to transition to a high school environment in a safe and supportive way. The first opportunity to do this will be at the Year 7 Orientation Day on Friday November 18. Due to the need for additional space to allow these students to complete Peer support activities and the fact that many Year 9 students will be out of scheduled classes, Year 9 will not have face-to-face lessons on this day. Year 9 students are encouraged to learn from home on this day unless they are required as Peer Support Leaders. Supervision will be provided at school on this day if required, but there will be no formal teaching for Year 9 on this day. There will be more information sent via Compass to Year 9 students and families in the next few weeks.

Miss Collins

Moments of perseverance and patience , From Angelica Quiroz Prasad (Year 9) 

After two years of patiently waiting, on the 18th and 19th  October we finally got to go on our long awaited camp. It all passed within the blink of an eye yet the memories which we all created would last a lifetime. 

Despite the cloudy skies and a little hit of precipitation on the first day we persevered through. Kayaking was one of the first activities that we did when we arrived at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation at Narrabeen. Winding down the lake in our vividly coloured kayaks was a blast. That is until our kayak entered the state of being aground, leaving us with no choice but to venture into the sinking sand and push it back into deeper waters. However, even as our shoes got soaked with water and sediments, we all stood our ground and did not falter to stop. It was a moment of perseverance. 

By the time we reached the other side of the lake our bodies began to give way to the events of the day. We all were slightly soaked… so what else could we do besides dive right into the lake? It was a spontaneous and blithe moment. 

The second day was the epitome of a clement day; the skies were clearer and the sun more scintillating than the first. 

We participated in archery tag, then headed down towards the lake for damper making. Mini sandstone blocks acting as chairs surrounded the hollow metal fire pit. Our olfactory system immediately began to kick in as the billowing clouds of smoke from each fire hurled towards us. The smoke stung our eyes and filled our lungs yet we persevered on and after some time the fires were ready to cook our bread on.

We walked around the sandy shore eating our edible damper; spotting out small spiral shells or drawing figments of our imagination on the sand with our damper stick. With the time flying above our heads the word ‘home’ seemed distant when we had to leave. 

The bus ride back was as still as a cool winter night. The aircon provided relief to the warmer weather and the majority of us slept on the bus after being sleep deprived from the night before. 

The moments we all created are idiosyncratic to each individual. Some were shared while others were simply kept exclusive to our own minds and hearts. We had our moments of patience while waiting for our camp to transpire and we had our moments of perseverance which pushed us through it.

Sporting Achievements

NSW All School Championships - Xavier Perry

Congratulations to Xavier Perry who competed in the NSW All Schools  Championships in September. Xavier won the 100m , 200m and 400m running race in the 14 years old contest. 

NSW All School Championships - Alannah Martin

Congratulations Alannah Martin, who threw a massive 47.97metres in the  4kg hammer throw to win the 19 year competition, over 10 metres further than her closest opponent.

Alumni Inspiration - Piadora Rahme (2018)

Enacting Change through the Power of the Law

24 October 2022

A scholarship and early offer gave Piadora Rahme the opportunity to rise above her circumstances and pursue her dream to join the judiciary.

An only child raised by a single mother who migrated to Australia from Lebanon for better opportunities, Piadora has lived on the same street in Mt Druitt her entire life. Now she’s getting ready to graduate from the second half of her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws degree, with her sights set on becoming a revered lawyer.

Through it all, Piadora’s mother was her biggest support, placing great emphasis on her schooling and guiding her towards higher education.

“She was the one who led me on the path of truly valuing and enjoying my education,” Piadora recalls. “Some of my fondest memories are sitting at the dining room table together and going through math homework and spelling, or reading a new book together every week. It was the simplest of things, but they really add up to where I ended up today.”

Together, they also navigated family court and a challenging custody battle while Piadora’s mother tackled a turbulent divorce. It was there, as she witnessed the inner workings of the justice system, that Piadora knew she wanted to help future families weathering the same storms.

“From this, I knew that I wanted to undertake a profession which allowed me to understand the legal system so that less people felt the strain and difficulty associated with understanding the law," she said.

At the time, Piadora split her attention between debating, her studies, working part-time jobs, and providing emotional support to her family. Her hard work paid off she was named Dux of her school, and awarded the prestigious Bateman Battersby Law Bursary in 2018. She was excited about graduating from school but it wasn’t until Piadora came across the University of Sydney’s E12 Scheme that she started to believe she was in with a chance. Her pathway towards the University of Sydney was further solidified when she discovered the double degree Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Law, which married her two passions perfectly.

"I knew that I wanted to undertake a profession which allowed me to understand the legal system, so that less people felt the strain and difficulty associated with understanding the law." - Piadora Rahme

Being awarded an E12 offer and scholarship meant Piadora didn’t have to sacrifice campus life to keep herself afloat. “Knowing that I didn't have to work to maintain this living, that I could kind of have a failsafe, meant every so often I was able to partake in student committees and student activities,” she said. “I didn’t have to pick between maintaining an income or being involved at the University – I could do both.”

Having financial support also meant Piadora could afford to purchase textbooks, pay the travel fares from her home in Mt Druitt to campus, and spend more time investing in her future. Alongside excelling in her studies as a Dalyell Scholar, she is also an executive member of the University of Sydney STEM Law Society, volunteers as a debating coach, and teaches Arabic to Kindergarten students at her local church. She still works, but by choice, as a legal intern at the University's Office of General Counsel, and as a paralegal at the Australian Medical Association.

Piadora is thankful to those who have given generously to student equity scholarships in the past. “I am deeply humbled and honoured to have been the recipient of their generosity, because it opened a door for me. It's often difficult to see or open that door of opportunities, but they gave me the key.”

Piadora’s next chapter will begin with her newly appointed clerkship, but her dreams are much bigger. The young leader hopes to become a part of the judiciary, to make real-world change for her generation. She hopes her story will inspire others to support the educational journeys of people just like her.

“Education is a true equaliser and one of the few things that cannot be taken away from anyone once they’ve attained it,” she says. “Potential donors should know that they will be changing someone’s life by supporting and empowering students less privileged to achieve their dreams.”

      "It's often difficult to see or open that door of opportunities, but they  gave me the key." -  Piadora Rahme


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