Ave Maria College

Newsletter - Volume 97 No 5• 26 June 2020


Loving God, we thank you for the grace of the upcoming holidays. Watch over and bless the members of the Ave Maria College community so that we have a restful break. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Please refer to the College Calendar for all Upcoming Events and Dates of Importance

From the Principal

Dear Families/Carers, 

What an interesting and unexpected term we have encountered together.  It has been a time where we have been committed to safety and care; continued the provision of high-quality learning programs; innovation as we navigated a new way of learning; and opportunities for community.  It has also been a time where families have had a unique insight into the learning environment and experiences of their daughters.  I particularly want to thank all our families for your ongoing support and trust in our College during this challenging time. 

As this term draws to a close many of our community are aware of the evolving COVID-19 situation in Victoria. I want to reassure families that we continue to follow the latest advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.  We are expecting to receive further advice in the coming fortnight. Once received we will be in contact with families to outline any potential changes, if any, to the operational arrangements currently in place. I want to reassure families of our ongoing commitment to you and the continued importance placed on the care and education of your daughters. 

During Term Two the Church also recognised the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si: On care for our common home.  Within this encyclical the Pope writes about the multidimensional aspect of what is means to care for our common home through addressing inequality and our relationships with each other and the Earth.  As a College inspired by the Franciscan Charism for whom St Francis of Assisi is a patron, Laudato Si holds a special place within our community, one that has been embraced by our Senior Student Leadership group. Our students have continued to focus on a number of sustainability initiatives, care of our school environment and care for each other, even during remote online learning.  During Term Two they have played an instrumental role in leading and participating in a number of online events that have promoted connectedness, belonging, community and care for the student group.  I thank our Senior Student Leadership group for their endeavours in this space and look forward to the implementation of their new sustainability initiatives next term. 

The learnings from COVID-19 have also taught us the importance of closing the gap when it comes to the inequality that still exists within communities and what it means to care for the most vulnerable. Last week I wrote to students in our weekly faith response the following: 

During COVID-19 the vulnerable within our community take many forms, that is, vulnerability due to isolation, health or finances. This vulnerability is not always obvious, with some within our community experiencing this in silence. Helene de Chappotin teachers us to demonstrate God’s love for every person, and, to walk in communion with and care for the most vulnerable in our community.  With all that is happening during COVID-19, how are you walking in communion with and caring for our most vulnerable?  

Even though the Laudato Si 5th anniversary has passed, as a community we will continue to care for each other and our environment while looking for ways to support the vulnerable in our community.  In doing so, I continue to encourage families who are experiencing financial difficulties, due to current circumstances, to reach out to us so we can work together to provide fee relief. 

As we look for ways to continue to support and care for each other and our environment I would like to share the following prayer with you. 

Lord, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of creatures. 

You embrace with all your tenderness all that exists. 

Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life, beauty and the most vulnerable. 

Fill us with peace that we may live as brothers and sisters. 

Touch our hearts and teach us to recognise that we are profoundly united with every creature as we share in this journey together. 

Thank-you for being with us each day as you encourage us in our struggle for peace, love and justice. 


As the term draws to a close, I would like to wish all our students, staff and families a peaceful and safe break over the Term Two holiday period and look forward to seeing your return at the start of Term Three on Tuesday, 14 July 2020. 

God bless and may we continue to strive for truth through love. 

Tanya Hutton 

Congratulations Adam Hipwell

It is with great pleasure that we acknowledge Adam Hipwell, a member of our Health and Physical Education Domain. Adam joined the Ave Maria College community at the commencement of the 2020 school year. Adam recently received the 2019 ACHPER Honour Award.  In receiving this award Adam has been recognised for his ongoing commitment to the delivery of Outdoor Education programs and his leadership in mentoring teachers who are new to delivering Outdoor and Environmental Studies. Well done Adam! 

Deputy Principal Staff, Learning and Teaching

Semester One Reports

Semester One reports for Years 7-12 students are available via the Parent Access Module. Please refer to the letter emailed to all parents/carers last week regarding the new look semester reports and changes to assessments due to the online learning environment.

Parent Teacher Student Interviews – Term 3

VCE PTS Interviews are scheduled for Thursday, 30 July 2020.

7-10 PTS Interviews are scheduled for Wednesday, 9 September 2020.

Parent Teacher Student (PTS) Interviews will take place as scheduled in Term 3 however, we cannot confirm at this stage whether they will be conducted onsite or via MS Teams.

Term 3 Onsite Operations Guide

The CECV have informed all Catholic schools that updated advice for the return to school in Term 3 will be made available during the holiday period. When this information is received, we will then communicate any changes to all families about daily bell times, onsite protocols and College events.

May I take this opportunity to wish all students a well-earned break over the holidays! You have risen to the challenges of Term 2 and achieved great things! Be proud of yourselves and enjoy!

Michelle Robertson

Director of Studies

2021 Subject Selection

The Subject Selection process is an annual event that involves students across Years 7 to Year 11. Throughout the process, students are required to consider their academic pathways and areas of interest, in order to select suitable subjects for 2021. Parents/carers are encouraged to have constructive conversations with their daughters about subject selection and the pathways that they are interested in pursuing.

The Subject Selection Evening will take place on Wednesday, 22 July 2020 from 5.00pm – 8.00pm. This night is particularly aimed at students currently in Years 8, 9 and 10. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the evening will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. Further information about the Subject Selection process, accessing the event, and the schedule for the evening will be communicated to parents/carers and students at the commencement of Term 3.

Subject information guides will also be produced for all Year Levels and digitally distributed to students and families in the latter half of the term break. Students will also receive an abridged printed version with key information prior to the Subject Selection Evening.

VCE Seminars

Having completed all of the coursework for Unit 3 and already commencing Unit 4, our Year 12 and accelerated Year 11 students are now past the halfway point of their senior studies for this year.

Over the upcoming break, there are a number of externally facilitated VCE seminars that your daughter may wish to attend. Whilst many of these incur a cost, there are some free sessions available. During these workshops, students are often given a range of revision strategies and the common mistakes made in previous exams will be highlighted.

The programs are also structured to assist students with learning activities that can reinforce key knowledge and will enable students to plan and implement good study skills for the end of the year.

Some of the VCE seminar providers include ATAR notes, Access Education, TSFX – The School for Excellence and TSSM.  Please note; that the College is simply highlighting these providers as a resource for your daughters and are not responsible for the content and/or quality of the programs. Further to this, we are not in any commercial relationship with the aforementioned providers, nor do we receive any incentives for promoting these providers.

James Vella

Director of Faith and Religious Education

Cloth for Liturgy

For our return to school liturgy on Tuesday, 9 June 2020, there was a cloth wrapped around our cross. At the time the cloth had been written on by Year 11 and 12 students. In terms of their remote learning experience, they responded to one of the following prompts:

  • Something I’m happy to leave behind.
  • Someone/something for which I’m grateful.
  • Something I’ve learned about myself.

Over the course of the last 2 weeks, students in Years 7 to 10, as well as staff, have had their opportunity to also write on the cloth. The cloth will find a permanent home within the College.

Faith response to COVID-19

It is in our nature as Catholics to help those around us, putting others' needs before our own. Self-care is often the first thing that gets sacrificed when life is busy and stressful, as it has been recently, among the confusion and constant stream of information due to COVID-19. As we begin to transition back into our usual routines it is important to take time for yourself and reflect on your own personal character, and all that you have learnt this year.

Let us pray that together as a community we may persevere to make 2020 a year to remember, not for the challenges we’ve faced, but for the personal growth, strength and love we’ve experienced during this time.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – (Romans 5:3-5)

Patrick Jurd

Director of Student Wellbeing

While we have always been aware of the interconnection between academic achievement or progress and student wellbeing, this past term has really emphasized the strength of this relationship. Research into learning shows that the conditions have to be right in order for students to make optimal progress with their learning.

The lack of certainty, the high demands that come with change and the challenges that have presented through working online and then returning to onsite learning have all demanded a cognitive and emotional load from students. Each of these things in isolation is challenging, however, when presented together these conditions can have a significant impact on mood regulation, problem solving skills, and the ability to navigate the demands of learning multiple disciplines. In addition to this, we have observed an increase in tiredness among our students as the term has come to a close.

The conditions for optimal learning include strong student-teacher relationships and feeling safe in the learning environment. As our students have navigated the challenges of this term we have seen the strength of these relationships, as well as the importance of working in partnership with families. The Student Wellbeing Team have worked with families and the staff at the College to ensure that students have been well supported throughout the term. Coming back to onsite learning has been exciting but also challenging. Our team approach has been vital in providing a network of support for our students, helping them to feel safe and to ask for help when they need it. We continue to encourage students to reach out if they need to.

The holiday period provides a well needed break for many, but also some added stress for some as the routine of school is disrupted again. As we consider the return to Term 3, we encourage parents and carers to contact the College if they need any support with the return to school. We can provide support onsite, through the Student Wellbeing Team, in addition to supporting referrals to external agencies, such as Headspace.  

Natalie Meddis

Careers and Pathways

Our Year 12 students participated in a RMIT livestream presentation on Wednesday, 10 June 2020, with information on tertiary programs and pathways.

As an alternative to our Tertiary Information Service (TIS) excursion, on Monday, 15 June 2020, our Year 11 students had the opportunity to view the TIS presentation via MS Teams and explored their ‘I Decide’ careers and courses.

Year 10 students will participate in an exciting ‘Careers Focus Day’ on Friday, 24 July 2020. Students will hear about careers areas, investigate their pathways and the skills required to be future ready.

A ground-breaking opportunity for early entry for our Year 12 students from Swinburne. In response to COVID-19, entry into eligible courses with no ATAR, a minimum 20 in English and a school recommendation. Here are the eligible courses.  Students could be guaranteed a place by the end of August.

In addition to our newsletter, a guide to Early Entry Schemes, digital University Course Guides and Scholarship tips are available on our Ave Careers website.

Newsletter articles available here. Topics this week include:

  • Swinburne University – new Early Entry Program (Year 12)
  • Open Day Dates
  • Upcoming Virtual Career Events
  • Monash University – Medicine and Health Videos
  • STEM Articles –Careers in Space, Economics, Smart Cities, and Engineering
  • Technology Scholarship (Year 12)
  • Employment Resources
  • JMC Academy – saved recordings from their recent Creative Media Open Day.

Poppy Ibrahim

College Captains

To our Ave community,

We have made it to the end of Term 2!

Whilst reflecting on this term, we found that there are so many aspects which we should celebrate and recognise as achievements.

With remote learning coming to an end about a month ago for our VCE students and only a couple of weeks ago for our 7-10 students, we look back and reflect upon what a challenge it was, but also how well our community overcame this obstacle. There is no denying that online schooling was difficult for all of us – students, teachers and families alike. However, with the whole school community returning to learning onsite, we have noticed an overwhelming sense of togetherness and unity. Despite having to abide by social distancing rules, resulting in staggered class and lunch times for different year levels, we have seen each respective year level bond and reignite the spark that was present at the beginning of the year. It is so wonderful to witness the ability of our community to rekindle relationships and continue pushing through the year, despite facing some struggles a few weeks prior – this in itself, is something of which we should all be very proud.

We would also like to recognise and express our gratitude to all the Ave Maria College staff – especially the teachers. Their constant dedication to their students had much to do with our ability to continue learning at home. We hope that you too can reflect on these members of our community and take some time to express your thanks for their work during these unprecedented times.

Now – looking forward. Of course, the remainder of the school year is still quite uncertain, however, we have learnt to face each day as it comes. Whilst at school during the last weeks of Term 2, we have worked alongside our incredible Senior Leadership Team, as well as members of the College Executive, organising the upcoming event of ‘Spec! Spec!’ The House Captains are all in action, organising auditions, scripts and everything in between, for their respective performances, which will all take place on Ave Day this year. We hope to continue sparking participation and involvement from each House to ensure that this day is filled with enthusiasm and excitement. In addition to this, we have also continued to work on our sustainability initiative. Next term, these plans will be put into action, with some sustainable items being implemented onsite! With the holidays coming up, we also hope to carry out some challenges for all members of our community, so, please keep an eye out on the College social media platforms for ways to get involved!

This sustainability initiative has allowed us to live out our College Theme; ‘True Power is Love’, as we are expressing love of and care for the environment – our common home. In addition to this, we hope to continue expressing love to each other and ourselves. We urge you to take some time these holidays to consider the environment around you – implementing sustainable habits at home, like more recycling, turning off the lights, or using less plastic. We also encourage you all to continue loving each other. With the current health concerns and risks in our state, it is important that we are aware of those around us, staying home when we can and being mindful of our social gatherings. Finally, we remind you to love yourself. After a long and tiring term, it is important to take some time for yourself, doing whatever you need to do to relax and rejuvenate for Term 3.

We hope that everyone enjoys a well-deserved break – please remember to love the environment, love each other and love yourselves… and keep up to date with our initiatives on the College social medias!

Danielle Reed and Claudia Fox

Around the College

Helene Library Hours

Community Events

The above link provides families further information around Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)

Parliament Prize

Simon Everywhere

Ave Maria College is proud to introduce Simon Everywhere, a smartphone app, designed to streamline the communication process for our families.

Simon Everywhere allows you to conveniently access your daughter’s reports, grades and attendance, update medical information, notify student absences, give consent for excursions and communicate directly with teachers. Essentially it is your Parent Access Module (PAM) account in the convenience of an app.
To utilise this facility simply download the Simon Everywhere app from your devices App Store, select Ave Maria College from the schools dropdown list and enter your previously supplied PAM account credentials.

Click here to access the College Parent Access Module (PAM)
The SkoolBag App is the easiest way to keep up with school events, last minute notices, newsletters and all school communications.

CDFpay is an online payment platform families can use to pay for school services from your mobile, tablet or computer at any time.

Families can:

  • place student online lunch orders.
  • add funds to student accounts to be used for over the counter canteen purchases.
  • add funds to student accounts to be used for Printing Credit.

Excellence Scholarships

Excellence Scholarships are now available for Year 9 and 11 students in 2021.

Open to current and prospective students.

Apply for a Scholarship.