Ave Maria College

Newsletter - Volume 96 No 7 • 9 August 2019


Loving God, we thank you for the gift of the life of St Clare. May we follow her example through prayer and contemplation so that You can guide us in our actions to live as disciples of Jesus. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

From the Principal

Thank you Dr Helen Eischeid

At the end of Semester 1, and in her 50th year of service to Ave Maria College, Dr Helen Eischeid has entered retirement. What a fine achievement!

Helen taught in the Science and Religious Education Domains and witnessed more changes than most in learning and teaching, technology in the classroom and student wellbeing trends. Further, since commencing in 1970, Helen has seen many iterations of building works, curriculum shifts, leadership changes and movement amongst friends and colleagues on staff. Throughout, Helen has remained steadfast in her love of teaching and learning and love of the students in her care; querying Helen’s presence on staff remains one of our Frequently Asked Questions by Ave Alumnae at annual Class reunions! Helen is remembered fondly by those who have left the College. For those who have worked with Helen more recently she will be remembered with appreciation and best wishes for abundant happiness in her next chapter of life.

Helen will be our special guest at Ave Maria Day on Thursday, 15 August 2019 and will receive a community blessing. Anyone wishing to extend their own best wishes to Helen may do so at 10.20am on Thursday, 15 August 2019.

Subject Selection

The annual Subject Expo was a great success with the inclusion of increased student voice and enhanced subject resources made available to students and families. We trust that all parents and students valued the opportunity provided by student leaders and volunteers, as well as teachers which will enable informed choices during the subject selection process. I thank in a particular way the Director of Studies, Jess Hall, for her wonderful work over this period. My thanks also to staff who interviewed all Year 10 students regarding learning pathways and our many Women of Ave Alumnae who have returned in recent weeks. Current students benefited greatly from past students sharing their stories of tertiary studies, the world of work and the many insights gained through experience, networks and backing themselves in pursuit of their goals.

Back to Ave Day

It was wonderful to celebrate with the Classes of 69, 79, 89, 99, 09 and 2014 at the Annual Back to Ave Day last Sunday. Memories, laughter and much nostalgia! We thank Angela Russo, from the Class of 1989 for her wonderful speech, reflecting on the treasured moments of learning and friendship over her six years at the College. Thank you to all who returned and shared stories of their love of the College and their appreciation for the gifts of faith, friendship, education and community in equipping them for life beyond the school gate. 

Photos of this event can be viewed later in this newsletter.

Deputy Principal Staff, Learning and Teaching

Catholic Education Melbourne School Improvement Surveys (CEMSIS)

Monday, 2 - Friday, 20 September 2019

Throughout each year, we pause to listen to our students, families and staff to gauge how our learning community is travelling. This feedback is invaluable to our progress as effective school communities and is backed by evidence-based research and best practices.

One of the more important formal ways we engage and gather data is through the Catholic Education Melbourne School Improvement Surveys (CEMSIS).

CEMSIS is a set of surveys that have been built specifically for Catholic Schools in Melbourne by Learning Services teams at Catholic Education Melbourne in partnership with researchers at Learning First and in wide consultation with Principals in our schools.

In 2019, students, families and staff are invited to participate in CEMSIS using the new, secure and purpose-built online platform. The online platform is where our school leaders will access the summary reports that visualise the results of the student, family and staff surveys.

Students at Ave Maria College will be provided with supervised sessions where teachers are on hand to help and answer any questions. Families and staff can complete the survey anytime over the three-week window via an emailed link and password.  

Our community’s opinions are critical to understanding how our school is performing – CEMSIS is a key data source for guiding the ongoing work to improve our school.

All families will receive a letter in the coming weeks to give informed consent for participation in this important survey.

Michelle Robertson 

Deputy Principal - Students, Learning Culture and Growth

Policies Update

Ave Maria College has recently updated it’s Privacy Policy and Child Safety Policy, associated with identifying and responding to abuse. The updated policies can be accessed from the Ave Maria College website.

As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a Child Safe environment at Ave Maria College, we have implemented two new codes of conduct. The Ministerial Order 870 requires the College to ensure the safety for all students.

Code of Conduct- Students

The student Code of Conduct outlines specific behavior that is acceptable and unacceptable. It outlines the expectations that the College has for all students. We aim to provide a safe, supportive, faith-filled and enriching environment. We want to make sure that every student is empowered spiritually, physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially.

Together, we aim to foster a culture that enables all students to develop their self-esteem, dignity and integrity.

 At our school:

·         Every student has the right to feel safe at all times.

·         Every student has the right to be protected from abuse of all kinds.

·         Every adult associated with the school must create  a safe and comfortable environment for all students.

·         Every adult must be aware of and follow the Child Safety Policy and the College Statement of Commitment. They are required to report any concerns or breaches of the Code of Conduct to the College Leadership Team.

The Code of Conduct outlines behaviour that is unacceptable in particular any form of bullying: cyber or cyber abuse and it also includes sending inappropriate text messages, photos and videos. Students will be introduced to the Code of Conduct through Mentor periods over the next few weeks and a copy will be given to every student to put in their Student Planner.

Code of Conduct- Parents/Guardians

Parents/Guardians play a crucial role in the educational, social and emotional development of their children. At Ave Maria College we partner with parents/guardians to ensure that the young people in our care receive a high standard of education that prioritises their wellbeing, and spiritual and social growth in a safe and supportive environment.

Interactions within the College community must demonstrate respect of the rights and responsibilities of its members, including other parents and College staff. In doing so, Ave Maria College's parents/guardians are expected to model acceptable behaviour at all times within the school setting.

Ave Maria College expects parents/guardians to partner with the College to enhance their daughter’s faith development, learning and wellbeing.

All policies can be found on the College website. Alternatively, if you would like a copy of any of the policies or Codes of Conduct please contact the College.

Punctuality to Classes

Last term the College sent attendance letters home to students who were not meeting the requirements of the College Attendance Policy. If your child is 15 minutes late each day for a year, they will have missed two full weeks in one year. We are committed to providing  high quality education for all students. To maximize student learning we have the expectation that all students will attend school regularly and on time. Being in school on time every day and ready to learn is essential for success.

Period 1 class commences at 8.40am. This means that students must be in class and ready to learn at 8.40am. It is unacceptable that students would be walking into the College grounds at this time. If students arrive late to Period 1 (after 8.40am) they are required to sign in at Student Services and an SMS message will be sent home to parents/guardians. Incidents will be issued if students continue to arrive to the College late. We ask that you support us with this standard. Our priority to maximize all student learning opportunities and being on time is essential for good learning.

Angela Torelli

Director of Studies

2020 Subject Selection

Thank you to the parents and students that attended the 2020 Subject Selection Information Night. Web Preferences have now closed to students currently in Years 8-11. Should a subject not be running due to lack of numbers or if a clash occurs during the timetable construction your daughter will be contacted. Students in Year 7 will be required to select their language for the next 2 years in the coming weeks. If you have any feedback of the night or Subject Selection process, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Year 10 Careers and Pathways Day

Thank you to members of the Ave Alumni who recently came back to share their pathways post Ave with our Year 10 students. It was so valuable for them to hear the very varied journeys each of our past students had taken. 

Jessica Hall

Director of Faith and Religious Education

Year 10 Faith Formation Day

On Wednesday, 31 July 2019 the Year 10 cohort ventured off to Moonee Ponds Bowls Club for our annual Faith Formation Day. The day started with a talk from Lina who has been a volunteer for over 18 years at the St Vinnies Soup Van. The touching stories Lina shared moved every single one of the girls, and further inspired us to consider all our options for our Faith in Action Today (FIAT) community service program.

The environment was also another focus of the day, where we collaborated on ideas of how to save our Earth, writing them on a paper leaf.  The day ended with a candlelit Liturgy, and a very personal reflection that we all enjoyed. The day was not only filled with laughter and sincerity, but a greater connection to our faith.

Grace Abboud and Madi Langenbacher, Year 10 Faith and Social Justice Leaders

Director of Student Wellbeing

Each year Mission Australia survey almost 30,000 young people aged 15 – 19 to identify values and areas of concern. This is a national report that offers us a broad view about young people today. The survey findings revealed significant optimism and confidence among almost two-thirds of young people.  The survey revealed that the main concerns for young people were coping with stress, study problems and concerns about mental health.

When young people are having problems it was reassuring to note that they were most likely to turn to their parents and families first, and their friends second. This is an affirmation of the value that young people place on their relationships with their families, especially at a time when those relationships may be stressed by the pressures of adolescence.

However, this also places a great deal of pressure on families and peers to be able to provide the support and help that our young people need. When we consider that around 25% of young people are managing challenging mental health concerns it is important that we acknowledge the role of those who provide help and support for them.

When young people have thoughts and feelings that are causing them distress and interfering with their ability to participate in their normal activities it is important to seek support. This can be done in a number of ways:

·         Contact your GP for a mental health care plan for a counsellor or psychologist

·         Contact Headspace 1300 880 218

·         Visit Beyond Blue at www.beyondblue.org.au

·         Visit Black Dog Institute at www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

·         Contact Royal Children’s Hospital for advice 9345 6011

·         Contact Orygen 1800 888 320 for young people 15 years and over

·         Contact Orygen 1800 445 511 for young people under 15 years of age

In addition to this we encourage families to contact the school so that we can also help. Wellbeing support is offered through Mentor Teachers, Year Level Leaders, the College Counsellor, Susanne Hall, myself, as Director of Student Wellbeing or Angela Torelli, Deputy Principal, Students, Learning Culture and Growth. Our aim is to support students to navigate school and their education. When students are also dealing with challenging mental health or emotional issues their engagement with learning and the school environment can be impacted. We aim to work with families and external supports to develop their emotional and mental health, while also maintaining or building their connection with the College.

 Natalie Meddis

Careers and Pathways

Did you know we have a new Careers website?

Designed to provide students with the latest inforamtion that will help in making decisions about future careers. Visit  www.avemariacareers.com to search courses, check prerequisites, find out more about a range of careers or to book an appointment with our Pathways Coordinator

2019 Indonesian Study Tour

Indonesia welcomed us with perfect weather, bright sunny days and low levels of humidity making our experience comfortable and enjoyable.  Early starts to every day were totally compensated by sumptuous breakfasts to kick start our daily adventure and explorations. We began our journey in Yogyakarta travelling through central Java and later flying across to Bali, Island of the Gods, where we headed for the hills exploring Ubud and its surrounding areas.  Carrying close to our hearts St. Francis’ message we embarked on this journey to connect with the environment and realise how we are called to care for creation and all its wonders.

Yogyakarta is known as the city of students, supported by 21 different universities, not a mean effort for a city with just 637,000 in population. Students from all over Indonesia and other foreign countries, Australia included, descend upon this little city looking for inspiration and challenge as they carve a pathway for their future. A highlight for us was meeting with our Ave Alumnae Elana Szabo,  also sister to Kahlia, a member of our tour group. Elana is as I write completing an internship with a legal firm in Indonesia. It was wonderful to catch up with her, talk over old times and laugh over some of our class shenanigans. It was inspiring to see her so confidently living independently in Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta gave us the opportunity to explore life in a largely Muslim environment. Extraordinary sounds were the first thing we noticed such as a prayer call at sunrise, then at different times throughout the day and finally at sunset, clear markers for taking ‘time out’. These instigated interesting conversations and comparisons with our Stillpoint at school. Taking the time to pause, reflect, rest and be thankful. It was interesting to observe people who daily incorporate this as their mantra.

Many were the experiences for our students on tour from attending language classes at the Wisma Bahasa School over 5 days and supporting this learning with activities encouraging our students to practise their Bahasa whilst interacting with the locals.  We visited a number of villages where we were welcomed into people’s homes and social spaces.  Activities ranged from shopping at the local markets for ingredients later required for their cooking lesson to traditional dance classes where they explored the use of movement and costume in telling a story. Everyone tried their hand at making a piece of batik, toiling with hot wax to create their own design. Then we tested our fine motor skills attempting jewellery making and silversmithing. Here our creative boundaries were pushed. Whilst our skills were rudimentary we all managed, with a little help, to create a fine piece of jewellery.

Bali was all about colour and rituals reflecting peace in life. Here we explored how Hinduism arrived in Bali with the early traders and entwined itself with local animist beliefs. Students learnt about the structure of the little offerings we see everywhere in Bali. We learnt the meaning behind the particular colours of the flower petals and how there is relevance and symbolism in the positioning of these petals in the little trays. We pondered on how such a simple beautiful thing can be so complicated and carry such deep spiritual meaning.

Our visit to the village Bangli was a highlight. Here we observed the intricacies of rural life in a typical Balinese village.  We were introduced to the concept of ‘gotong-royong’, and shown how working together is essential to achieve a common goal. In this case it was applied to rice-farming the main method of providing sustenance to the villagers. The girls rolled up their sleeves and their pants and had a go at ploughing the water logged land and planting seedlings in the sawah field. They learnt about the importance of looking after the land in order to sustain life on the island. Definitely an experience that won’t be forgotten!

Indonesia is grappling with all sorts of issues as are other countries around the world. We visited an animal rehabilitation centre where we learnt about the plight of different endangered species and what Indonesia is doing to discourage illegal trade of animals and developing programs to rehabilitate animals which have been incarcerated or orphaned as a consequence of poaching. Plastic waste is another big issue in Indonesia. The collection of this waste in the past has been an income earner for many homeless people.  There are new polices introducing recycling in order to clean up the environment, in fact this trip I saw for the first time a public recycle bin. Another positive initiative, we discovered that Bali has actually placed a ban on the use of plastic bags in its attempt to eradicate this huge environmental problem. 

Travelling to Indonesia with the 2019 group was a pleasure. The students embraced every activity and tackled each day with fresh energy and positivity. They were willing to learn, to explore, give things a go and more importantly to engage in reflective conversations. I am sure they have come home with wonderful memories and experiences which they will share with their peers and enhance our learning in the classroom.

Carla Godoy, Tour Leader

Whilst in Indonesia we were fortunate enough to visit many temples where we observed the various religions being practiced. We started off watching the sunset at Borobudur, a very famous Buddhist temple In Java. We were blown away by the beauty of the sunset as well as the unique architecture which reflected the culture and spirituality of the people. Throughout the trip, we visited a number of other temples, each with its own architectural style and history.

Chloe McMahon Year 10

This trip was a really good experience! One day in Bali, we visited a coffee plantation and got to taste many different types of coffee and tea, including the famous ‘kopi lewak’, where the coffee beans are collected from civet droppings, cleaned and then roasted. Making it the most expensive coffee in the world. Following this, we went to the Elephant Park and got to ride the elephants. We reflected on the plight of the Sumatran elephant and the need to take care of this beautiful creature. While we were there we were able to feed the elephants and take photos with them! 

Lucy Turner Year 10


Something that I really loved about Indonesia was getting to immerse myself in the village life and culture. We were fortunate enough to visit a village compound in Bali, and visit the places where people lived and worked, and children played. Seeing the kids’ beautiful smiles and hearing their laughter, despite them having so little, just emphasized for me that money really doesn’t buy happiness. I loved getting to meet these kids, as well as the different workers in the village. It fascinated me how everyone had their own important role to play, like cooking, weaving baskets or being the town blacksmith. I found their community spirit inspiring, and I really think that people over here should take a page out of their book.                                                                                                        

Meg Hogan Year 10

Our last full day in Yogyakarta consisted of us visiting an orangutan rehabilitation centre and visiting Mount Merapi. This day was action-packed involving us waking up early to travel to the rehabilitation centre where we were given the opportunity to learn about the great initiatives introduced at the centre. It was heartbreaking to hear the negative experiences these animals had previously gone through but so refreshing to see them being looked after by the wonderful workers and volunteers. After lunch, we continued to Mount Merapi, an active volcano in Central Java. We were given an opportunity to look at the museum where the results of the last eruption were made evident. We then had the joy of jeep riding up the volcano, following the lava flow down to the valley. We had the privilege of meeting some of the locals and were able to take photos with the most adorable kids. Our adventure took us down to the riverbed where to my surprise, our jeeps sped through big water holes getting us all absolutely soaked. This day was one of the many highlights I experienced on the Indonesian trip and has left me with some of the happiest memories of my life.

Cassandra Kennedy Year 10

Around the College

Year 7 Melbourne Zoo Excursion

At the end of Term 3 all Year 7 students went to the Royal Melbourne Zoo. It was such an extraordinary experience for us. Before going to the zoo, we were learnt about endangered species and were given an endangered animal to research.

We participated in different workshops and learnt more about the endangered species. We walked around the zoo looking at the animals and how unique each animal is. 

At the end we all gathered together and choose an animal to give our voice to.

Sifora Mussie Brhane 7B

Nourish Bowls Challenge

On Thursday, 27 June 2019 seven Year 7 and Year 8 students participated in the Nourish Bowl Competition in the beautiful new Food Technology kitchen.

The brief given to the students was to plan and produce a nourish bowl which is nutrient dense, colourful, flavoursome and easy to produce. I am proud to announce the winner of this competition was Ava Carrick, Year 8 with her ‘Garden of Vegan’ nourish bowl.

I would like to thank Baby Bowls, Rose Street Essendon for their generous donation of vouchers for first prize. I would also like to thank the following individuals for their support of the competition; staff members James Vella, Hazel Gard, Maria Saunders, Jennifer Lorrimar and Jo Hammer and Year 12 students Genevieve Iudica and Aleshia Torcia.

Carolyn Mills - Design Technology Food Teacher

Design Thinking

It was a most successful launch of the new Year 10 problem solving subject Design Thinking.

Students solved problems and made decisions needed to create the Barista Sistas micro-business, running the school coffee cart every morning. Students used problem solving to create the marketing campaign used to advertise the business as well as exploring the nature of corporate social responsibility. With our own social responsibility in mind, students had to decide how the coffee cart profits would be spent. Students decided to buy 17 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts and, by making lattes and hot chocolates, put on a Biggest Afternoon Tea fundraiser for the Cancer Council. They raised $651. They also decided to donate $486 to St Vincent de Paul- the Year 10 Social Justice Charity. Finally, as a team building activity, the class purchased colourful string bracelets for each team member- the profits of which also go to local charities.

A job well done- all involved can be very proud of their hard work.

Kate De Bolfo - Design Thinking Teacher

Complete Theatre Works – Year 12 English Performance

On Tuesday, 30 July 2019 our Year 12 English students were privileged to see a performance of The Penelopiad and Photograph 51. This performance relates directly to the comparative text study being undertaken as part of Area of Study One in Unit 4 English and the end of year examination. All students appreciated the opportunity to see sections of each text  ‘live in performance’ to enhance their understanding of characters, key themes and the rich connections to be made between the two texts being studied this term. 

Michelle Robertson - Year 12 English Teacher

Back to Ave Day Gallery

We thank those students and staff involved in making the afternoon a great event. To stay up-to-date with all Alumnae news please register your details via the College Website or via Ave Connect.

College Fees

A friendly reminder that Term Three Fees were due Friday, 19 July 2019.

Refer to the 2019 Family Finance and Information Guide which was emailed to all families on 19 December 2018.

Where payment has not yet been made, kindly contact the Finance Office on 9331 9307 immediately to discuss suitable payment options.

If you have already made contact with the Finance Office regarding your Fee Account, alternatively if payment has already been made, or should you have a payment plan in place by way of either a Direct Debit or Credit Card Authorisation, then there is nothing further for you to do.

Please note, a Late Payment Fee of $100 may be imposed.

The Health of all our Students is of Utmost Concern

One of our students is currently receiving medical treatment and a major concern is if she develops measles or chickenpox, she can become seriously ill.

The College seeks your cooperation in preventing this possibility.

If your daughter has or may have measles or chickenpox we ask that you do not send them to school during this time and you notify the College as soon as possible.

Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

Community Events

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