McAuley News

Term 3, Issue 9 - 11 SEPTEMBER 2020


Year 12 Graduation

In the next two weeks Year 12 students will reach the end of their formal school education, with only their long anticipated HSC Examinations to follow.

Year 12 students have been preparing for their exams throughout the year, and in fact, throughout their entire high school education. Their focus and dedication has been admirable, and their attention to the feedback their teachers have provided has helped them to improve in each subject area. Students deserve to trust in their abilities and skills, and should approach their exams with confidence and the determination to strive for higher things, as all McAuley girls do.

Whilst 2020 has provided many challenges to the Year 12 cohort, there is still a great deal for them to look forward to. The last few weeks of this term will be special ones for the Year 12 students. They will enjoy some extra events that have been organised as gifts from the whole school community, and they will celebrate with a Year 12 Mass and Final Assembly.

A very special thanks goes to all the Year 12 teachers, and also to every teacher and staff member who has touched your daughter’s lives in her 13 years of education. The dedication of these teachers and staff members to her education is greatly appreciated, and I know you will join me in thanking them for their work and care.

The students in the Year 12 graduating cohort should be proud of their many achievements, and of their growth as Mercy women. Our prayer for them as they move beyond school is that they continue to be women of mercy, excellence, justice, courage, integrity and hospitality, keeping the loving spirit of their God and the Venerable Catherine McAuley in their hearts and their hands.

We wish them the very best.

Mercy Day

Last week we celebrated Mercy Day, a long-awaited celebration that came together in a day of great joy and community spirit for all at Catherine McAuley. The day began with the commissioning of the 2020 - 2021 school leaders in a Liturgy of the Word, presided over by Fr Walter. You will know that we live streamed this event with great success, and were very pleased to have you join us in this virtual environment. The link is here, in the case that you missed it on Friday.

The day followed with activities and community building games in homerooms. You will see photos in this newsletter and on social media that highlight some of the fabulous costumes students wore, and the activities they participated in.

Many thanks to the school’s P & F Association for their donation of lunches to all students and teachers on Mercy Day.

I would like to thank the teachers and staff whose efforts in planning and preparing an exceptional celebration allowed us to celebrate our foundation as a school based on Mercy values: the principles of social justice, hospitality, courage, integrity and excellence. The focus for the day was awareness and fundraising for the Mercy Works Charity, Timor Leste Katilosa Community Centre, a centre for educating young children with disabilities. Funds raised throughout the day are being donated to this charity.

Mary Refalo


Holiday Ideas

With the holidays just around the corner, please consider the following ideas to keep you busy and learn something new. 

  • Read a book to promote good literacy and to deepen an understanding of the human condition

  • Life skills like cooking if not already mastered, now is a great time to share the load
  • Renovating a piece of furniture

  • Solving a crossword or sudoku puzzle

  • Learning calligraphy

  • Sewing a garment or reversible bag – check online for a pattern

  • Learning a language – try Duolingo

  • Doing creative photography portraits or still life

  • Gardening

Online STEM Holiday Course

CASE Space Academy is offering online STEM programs for the upcoming holidays as well as the December holidays. Details of these programs can be found here.

Year 12

Thank you to all Year 12 students for your leadership at the school over the past year. A reminder that your teachers will be available during Week 1 of Term 4 during your normal class time should you wish to come in and revise your work. The first day for the HSC written exams is Tuesday, 20 October with English being the first exam. Wishing you all the very best for your HSC and beyond

Holiday Break

Wishing all students and their families a safe and enjoyable break. I am looking forward to working with you all in Term 4. 

Ms Silvana Rossetti
Assistant Principal (Learning and Teaching)

FROM THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL (Pastoral Care/Administration)

Happiness and Wellbeing

“There's certainly lots of loss, crisis and disappointment in the world right now. But if you look at life from a wellbeing perspective, there's also lots to be thankful for.”

I recommend the following article The Pursuit of Wellbeing (and why you can have it without happiness) published by ABC Radio National Sarah Scopelianos and Skye Docherty for Sunday Extra on Sunday, 23rd August 2020.

Health Concern: Young People and E-cigarettes / Vape Pens

It is becoming increasingly popular for young people to experiment or use e-cigarettes or vape pens. Catherine McAuley treats the use of e-cigarettes or vape pens in the same way it would treat smoking and cigarettes. Please refer to the School Planner (page 17A).

The NSW Health Website provides the following in regard to e-cigarettes or vape pens:

  • E-cigarettes are not risk free. They may expose users and bystanders to chemicals and toxins such as propylene glycol, glycerol or ethylene glycol that cause adverse health effects, and may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular, cancer and respiratory diseases. E-liquids or vapour may also contain potentially harmful chemicals which impact the user and bystanders.

  • E-cigarettes are often labelled incorrectly and may contain nicotine, even when they claim not to contain nicotine. E-cigarettes may contain high levels of nicotine, which may cause poisoning if swallowed.

Emerging link between e-cigarette use and severe lung disease
  • The Australian Chief Medical Officer and all State and Territory Chief Health Officers have issued a statement on the emerging link between e-cigarette use and severe lung disease.

  • ​This includes severe lung disease requiring intensive care support.

  • The full statement can be found on the Australian Department of Health website.

Under the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2008:

  • It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and accessories to or buy these products on behalf of a person under 18 years of age.

  • E-cigarettes and accessories cannot be seen by the public, displayed or advertised anywhere inside or outside a retail shop.

  • E-cigarettes and accessories cannot be sold from temporary and mobile premises such as a market stall or stand, a tent or a car, and cannot be given out as a free sample.

I recommend reading an article Vaping: Sorting out ‘fact from fiction’ for those parents struggling with the issue that was in the Catholic Weekly recently by Paul Dillon the Director and founder of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia. He is passionate about ensuring that the community has access to accurate and up-to-date alcohol and other drug information.


The Power of Collaborative Learning

(from: Dr Prue Salter - The Study Skills Specialist)

Learning with other students can be a very powerful way to improve your learning outcomes. You might be sitting next to each other discussing what you are learning, or working together in a group online and sharing your screens, or giving a friend feedback about an assignment. There are many benefits to learning to work with other students.

MOTIVATION: Studying together can be much more motivating than studying on your own. Setting targets and working towards them together can help keep you focused on completing assignments. Often study done together is more active and engaging than studying on your own and this is much better for retention.

DEEPEN UNDERSTANDING:  Discussing with a friend, being able to bounce ideas off each other, ask each other questions – all of these activities will help strengthen your neural networks and deepen your understanding of what you are learning. This can help to develop our higher order thinking skills.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES: Sometimes we don’t realise that we are only looking at things in one particular way and there are different and diverse viewpoints to ours. Learning with a friend can help you see things in a different light and broaden your perspective. This can help develop our critical thinking skills. 

BUILD TEAMWORK SKILLS: Learning to cooperate, negotiate and problem solve with other people is a great skill to have in later life. By learning with other students you will have opportunities to learn to be a more active participant in group work and also develop communication and leadership skills.

Our school’s subscription details are:    Username: mcauley       Password: 189results

Term 4

All students return to school on Monday, 12th October 2020 dressed in their summer uniform.  The Dress Code is outlined in the Student Planner (page 22A) . The scarf is not part of the summer uniform. Please ensure the skirt is 5cm below the knee. A reminder that the sports shoes for PDHPE practical lessons and Thursday sport are to be predominantly white. Students need to ensure they meet the requirements of the grooming section of the Dress Code when they return to school.

Ms Debbie Grigson
Assistant Principal (Pastoral Care/Administration)

Counsellor Corner

2020 has been a challenging year, for many of us who have experienced a variety of emotions ranging from fear to anxiety. Everyone gets anxious at times - as it’s part of life. Anxiety helps us to survive, keeps us safe and allows us to perform better. However, when someone becomes so worried, obsessed or afraid about something happening in a certain way, it may affect their everyday life and ultimately causes anxiety problems for the individual.

This can be especially true for teenagers and senior students for whom ‘what if’ stories and worries will often predict the worst and feeling overwhelmed. Adolescents are considered to be more at risk of anxiety and depression disorders which may affect their thinking, mood and their behaviour.

 As parents, you need to remain vigilant for any signs of distress or major changes even though your daughter may not have any prior history of mental illness. Early intervention, diagnosis and treatment have never been more important than ever.

For further information on Teen Anxiety, click on the link-

Useful contacts when your daughter is not ok:

School Counsellor

Family Doctor or Psychologist

Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800

Lifeline on 13 11 14

‘000’ if life is in imminent danger.

Year 7 Students Learn About Being Cyber Wise

Senior Constable Dusan Dakic, Police Liaison Officer for Catherine McAuley, spoke to Year 7 students last week about being 'Cyber Wise', as part of the Year 7 Peer Support Program. 

He discussed areas such as social media, online gaming, protecting yourself online, protecting others online and the reporting of online abuse or inappropriate content. The students had the opportunity to ask Senior Constable Dakic questions and gain further insight and strategies to help them be safe online. 

During Week 8, Year 7 students will complete a Cyber Wise webquest which will give them a chance to explore the eSafety and Think You Know websites recommended by Senior Constable Dakic. 

Ms Leah Morrison
Year 7 Coordinator

R U OK? Day

Thursday, 10th September was R U OK? Day, a national day of action when we are reminded that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” if someone in your life is struggling with life’s ups and downs.

To acknowledge the day students and staff were able to see connection cards scattered around the school designed to start the conversation.

Ask a friend! Ask a peer! Ask a teacher!  Ask a colleague!

R U OK? 

A conversation could change a life! 


Recently the Draft New Curriculum (DNC) for Religious Education in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta has received some negative attention from the media. Sadly, the author of these articles made some very derogatory comments about the DNC without thorough research before publication. The Rationale of the DNC states “The purpose of the curriculum is to empower each student to discover a meaningful and flourishing life. Responding to the ‘signs of the times,’ and walking with humility in the way of Jesus, the curriculum continues the universal Mission of the Catholic Church.”

At Catherine McAuley Westmead we support families and continue the faith journey which has started in the homes of our students. Everything which is covered in Religion classes is based upon the teachings of the Catholic Church. We rely upon scripture and tradition and are guided by Pope Francis and Bishop Vincent. For our young women of Mercy, it is essential that they engage with contemporary issues. When I left school and started university, I was asked by my peers to explain the Church’s position on certain matters. Our young women of Mercy will undoubtedly find themselves in a similar position when they graduate from school and they need to be prepared for such encounters. Classroom discussions in a safe environment with guidance and framed by Catholic theology will enable our students to take on the world!

In Term 3, students in Year 10 have trialled the learning cycle 'What is the relationship between sexuality, love and human flourishing?' Through the lens of the teachings of the Catholic Church, students have responded to some of life’s big questions. One of the great philosophers in modern times was Saint John Paul II. His informed writings continue to remind us that each person is made in the image and likeness of God and therefore worthy of inherent dignity. This has been an essential teaching in this learning cycle. In Term 4, Year 9 classes will trial 'Why is care of our common home a moral imperative?' This is quite timely as we are recovering from a disastrous bushfire season and are living through the Covid 19 Pandemic. We look forward to continuing to work with your daughters as they grow in faith.

Ms Genevieve Banks
Religious Education Coordinator


Father’s Day Stall Raises Over $800

Both Clare and Dobson House organised a very successful Father’s Day Stall on Friday, 28th August with just over $800 raised. Students were able to choose from a range of presents, all very competitively priced, including chocolates, shirts, mugs, sporting equipment, gardening items, BBQ tools, and more.

All money raised will go to Mercy Works and the Katilosa Community Centre for the Disabled in Timor Leste.


Year 12 Student Awarded the Bishop of Parramatta Award for Student Excellence

Congratulations to Year 12 student Tram N. who has been awarded the Bishop of Parramatta Award for Student Excellence 2020. This annual award is given to one Year 12 student from each Catholic school in the Diocese of Parramatta. It recognises students who witness their Catholic faith and achieve well in their academic, sporting, creative, vocational or community endeavours.

Tram was nominated for this award by school staff and with the planned award ceremony at St Patrick’s Cathedral not able to go ahead it was Ms Refalo who presented Tram with her award at school on Monday, 1st September.  Year 11 student and the newly announced Leader of Liturgy for 2021, Raia U., read out the citation recognising why Tram was chosen for this prestigious award.

Read More…

View a video of the award ceremony

Student Leaders 2020 - 2021

The student leaders for Term 4 2020 and 2021 have been announced and were listed in the last newsletter. Congratulations to all students.

Student Leaders and Assistant Leaders

Mercy Day 2020

Mercy Day is a special day at Catherine McAuley Westmead as the annual event where the school can celebrate our foundation as a school based on Mercy values - social justice, hospitality, courage, integrity and excellence. 

The celebrations for 2020 were adjusted to accommodate current restrictions but the day was still one filled with community building and was a great day for all students to enjoy. 


McAuley Students Participate In Wellbeing Walk for National Health and Physical Education Day

Wednesday, 2nd September was National Health and Physical Education Day - a day to highlight the importance of Health and Physical Education. Research shows that children's participation in physical activity leads to better student engagement, improved academic achievement, and better health outcomes in adult life. 

Over the last few years at Catherine McAuley the school has celebrated this day by holding a wellbeing walk and this tradition continued on Wednesday last week. Organised by the PDHPE Department students were encouraged to walk with their friends around the hockey field and through the Sr Barbara McDonough Building. The total number of laps completed was tallied up to see how many laps the school as a whole was able to complete. The total number was 461! Well done to all who participated!

Amended Year 12 HSC Music Performance Highlights Video

In the last newsletter a highlights clip of the Year 12 HSC Music performances was included. Unfortunately two students were accidentally left out of that clip! Here are highlights of the HSC Music performances again with all 10 students now included

Year 12 Countdown Banner 2020

Year 12 students have hung their traditional countdown banner in Coolock Court as they count down the final days until they leave high school. This year the students are counting down the days ‘Till We Zoom Out Of Here'.

CSDA Debating Competition Draws To A Close

Congratulations to all the McAuley Debating Teams who competed in this year’s competition. Both the Senior and Year 7 Teams made it through to the preliminary elimination round with the Year 7 Team having their first defeat in this round. The Senior Team remained undefeated and went through to the quarter finals, held last Friday, 4th September, where they were defeated by St Leo’s Catholic College. All teams did McAuley proud this year and the school congratulates you on your efforts.

Student Environment Leaders Attend Catholic Earthcare Seminar

Last Thursday, 3rd September, Catholic Earthcare held a virtual seminar via ‘Zoom’ celebrating the ‘Season of Creation’ and focusing on Pope Francis’ vision as to how we can continue to be advocates of the environment. The seminar consisted of various guest speakers who discussed and provided input as to how we can strive to be exceptional stewards of the earth. There were over 130 participants who joined the seminar, from a diverse range of states including Victoria and Queensland. 

We were driven to the understanding as Environment Leaders, that ‘God wants us to build sustainability into all facets of our lives’, including the school community. We were further encouraged that we must ‘Live more simply, so others may simply live’. The seminar concluded in ‘break-out room’ discussions, in which we were divided into groups of between six and seven and were able to discuss any final thoughts or further insight relating to what was discussed.

The seminar was especially helpful in stimulating ideas for the work we intend to do as Environment Leaders over the next year. 

Davida S. & Charlotte T.
Leaders of Environment 2020/2021


Year 8 Science Students Perform Sheep Heart Dissection

Year 8 Science students are currently studying the circulatory system and recently performed a sheep heart dissection. Students were able to examine the structure and function of the heart.

Year 11 Hospitality Students Making Sliders

Year 11 Certificate II Hospitality (Food & Beverage) students of Ms Leanne Catto were busy in the kitchen earlier this month making sliders. Students have been working on the preparation and presentation of simple dishes.

Year 11 Earth and Environmental Studies Look At Effect of Evaporation on Salinity

Year 11 Earth and Environmental Studies students of Mrs Fiona Stewart-Sandman were recently looking at the effect of evaporation on salinity.

Follow the school Instagram Page and Facebook Page for more ‘Around the Classrooms’. Search for Catherine McAuley Westmead.


Monday, 7th September - Friday, 18th September Year 11 Exams
Friday, 18th SeptemberYear 12 Study Day
Tuesday, 22nd SeptemberYear 12 Graduation Mass
Thursday, 24th SeptemberYear 12 Graduation
Friday, 25th SeptemberTerm 3 Ends
Monday, 12th OctoberTerm 4 Begins


Year 12 English Studies Career Workshops

Year 12 English Studies students have had the opportunity to attend three career workshops with Ms Chahine, Careers Advisor, over the past few weeks. The students have been preparing for work and study in 2021 and these workshops have covered the positive outcomes from studying vocational education and looked at the practical information and documents that are needed to apply. Students also had a Zoom session with TAFE and Australian Careers Business College looking at course options and what employers are looking for. The final session held on Wednesday this week was helping the students prepare for a job interview, both via video and in person, and was assisting the students in how to respond to interview questions.


Let’s Increase our Stamina these Holidays!

It is crucial to participate in as many training sessions as possible to increase stamina and peak performance level in your chosen sport. Likewise, it is key to build your reading “stamina in order to read effectively” (Merga, 2019, p.97). The ability to read deeply for sustained periods of time will not only be a key skill required for many careers that our girls progress to but also for them to reach the optimal academic performance (Merga, 2019).

The holidays provide a great opportunity for girls to kick back and immerse themself in some sustained reading of their choice to build reading stamina. Every lunchtime of week 10, the Library Ambassadors will be available in the library to assist any student who might be struggling to find their next “great read”. Girls are encouraged to drop by and borrow a  couple of books for the holidays.

Merga, M. (2019). Reading engagement for tweens and teens. Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.


Reminder To Students and Parents


Changes to Family Levy

We advise that your school fee statement may look a little different next year. You will notice that the Resource Fee has increased and there is no longer a Family Levy as the Family Levy and Resource Fee have merged. In the majority of cases this has little or no impact. For families with 3 or more students there will be a slight increase in the combination of these fees. For 2021 there will be no increase in diocesan tuition fees or the building levy and therefore you will find that the total school fees increase is within the bounds of normal annual increases.  Contact the school office if you require any further information.

Alumni Survey 2020 - Are You an Ex Student of Catherine McAuley?

A Message To All Our Ex-Students (please pass on to any you may know),

We are trying to build a stronger alumni community and learn about the path you took after leaving McAuley. If you are a graduate from Catherine McAuley Westmead, please participate in our alumni survey which has been many months in the making. 

We ask questions about any positive learning experiences that helped shape your career; where and what you might have studied; how soon you were able to find work after studying; and also the opportunity to share some career highlights or how you might have navigated a career change. 

At the end, there is also an option to indicate if you would like to connect with us and be part of career networking and mentoring with our current students, or just stay up to date with our alumni news. It should take between 5-8 minutes to complete. 

We look forward to your responses and to understanding the various paths our alumni have taken, so thank you for taking the time to participate.

Amanda Chahine, Careers Adviser and Jacqui Hamilton, School Development Officer

National Child Protection Week: Putting Children First

We all play a part in keeping children and young people safe and ensuring they can live and learn in a safe environment. This National Child Protection Week (6 to 12 September 2020), we pledge commitment to listening to the voices of children and young people and remaining vigilant to their safety and wellbeing.

In support of the National Child Protection Week theme, “Putting Children First”, and in line with the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) is committed to the establishment and implementation of child safe systems, policies and procedures. 

The aim is to have in place practices that are proactive and preventative in nature, providing children and young people with school environments where they are safe, informed, participate, and where the adult community, working together with children and young people, work towards making this happen. 

Recently, CEDP have moved from what was primarily Child Protection to Safeguarding, which requires us to do things differently, enabling a greater level of proactivity, children's voice and building all-round knowledge for what is safe behaviour when working with students and children. The CEDP Safeguarding team's role is to support the implementation of the Standards, to manage concerns raised about employees, Working With Children Checks (WWCC), and to provide training, education and support to the CEDP community. 

By providing the community with the knowledge, support and procedures to keep children and young people safe we are equipping everyone with the tools and skills needed to be ambassadors of child safety! Throughout 2020, CEDP's Safeguarding Team have been working on many projects to align with the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards. 

Check out - after all, what's more important than the knowledge to help keep children and young people safe!

A Letter Regarding the Draft New RE Curriculum

Second Hand Uniforms

Do You Have Any Second Hand Uniform Items for Sale? 

Do You Wish To Purchase Any Second Hand Uniform Items?

The school has had a number of requests regarding second hand uniforms and although our school uniform shop does not sell second hand items directly we have set up an area on the school website for parents to list their items for sale.

If you are interested in purchasing second hand uniform items perhaps you might like to check the school website under ‘Enrolments / Uniform Shop’ and see what items are listed. 

If you are a parent with an item to sell please email with your item details and photos. The school website under ‘Enrolments / Uniform Shop’ gives you more information.

Catherine McAuley Parent Business Directory

A reminder that the school has a Catherine McAuley Parent Business Directory. This directory is a collection of parent owned businesses and is something you might want to consulate when you are next looking for a particular item or service.

If you would like to be included in the directory please fill out this form.