McAuley News

Term 1, Issue 3 - 20 March 2020


Building resilient women

The past fortnight has seen swings and roundabouts for the Catherine McAuley community, who have cycled through some exciting and powerful experiences, and some that have tested our resilience.

For all of us, life is easy when we travel on a buoyant high, which we did as a community during our very successful Open Evening on 4th March 2020, and our swimming carnival last week. It is always wonderful for all of us when we see our daughters and students in their element as confident women. 

During Catherine McAuley’s annual open evening we saw students of all ages interact with hundreds of members of the public, many of whom have no connection with the school at this time. The students were gracious hosts, and welcomed our visitors with warmth, in true Mercy spirit. We would like to thank the students for their participation in this important event. A selection of photos can be viewed on the School Facebook Page.

The swimming carnival also showed true McAuley spirit, with students eager to participate and excel in the entire range of events. Again, students brought a joyous energy to their commitment to their school.

Resilience, as we know, is evident when times are good, but it also comes from the ways in which we respond to more difficult situations. We have had some of those in the last fortnight too. During these times, students have maintained their confidence, respectfulness and focus. They have continued to attend to their lessons and their school commitments, and they have continued to be gracious and respectful in their interactions with their teachers and with one another.

The qualities that I am identifying come from your parenting and guidance. Whilst teaching them to be strong and to face their responsibilities is sometimes difficult, we know that it is worthwhile. Resilience is a powerful quality, and one that enables all of us, including our children, to live full and productive lives. 

I would like to thank you for your support of the Catherine McAuley staff over these last few weeks, and your trust in us as we have navigated both good and difficult times with your children.

I would also like to offer my thanks to the staff of Catherine McAuley, who have worked tirelessly to ensure the school environment is the supportive and hospitable place that it continues to be.


I wrote to you earlier this week to explain the school’s response to maintaining health and hygiene practices that support those being promoted by the Australian Health Department. In addition, I reiterated that, as school is operating as usual, the normal assessment protocols are being applied. In addition, attendance is expected from each student who is not sick or is not isolated due to contact with affected persons, as described by the Australian Health Department. 

Maintaining consistent practices and routines also helps to build resilience in young people, and it is important that we continue to do this at all times. Thank you for supporting us in this.

If a period of home learning is required some time in the future, we will be prepared to maintain student learning. We have been working on practices and protocols that suit this type of learning. We will inform you of our plans for home learning if and when this is required of schools in Australia.

Learning at Catherine McAuley in Term 1

In previous newsletters you will have read about our learning focus areas for 2020. 

This term, we have been talking about the learning pit: a metaphor to describe the importance of struggle in learning. When we are learning something new, we feel as though we are stuck in a pit and we are not sure how we will get out of it. Good opportunities for learning, such as the ability to communicate, collaborate and create, invite students to problem solve in such a way that they learn something new and are able to ‘climb out of the learning pit’. Struggle and risk taking in learning allow us to learn and to improve our intelligence and skills.

Ask your daughters about the learning pit and when they were in it this week. If they have found something in their learning difficult, and they have moved past the difficulty and developed confidence in the content or skill, this is something to be celebrated.

In Term 2 Year 7 students will facilitate a conversation with their parents about their learning during student-led conferences. Year 7 students will spend some time learning how to facilitate this type of conversation prior to the evening. These conferences will replace traditional parent / teacher meetings for Year 7 students.

Reception area renovation

The renovation of the Catherine McAuley reception area is now complete, and it looks lovely. School support office staff were very pleased to move back into their newly renovated spaces last week.

Although final touches are still to be added, staff are very happy with the new look.

Mary Refalo


In The Learning Pit - Embracing the Challenge

In my previous newsletter, I spoke about the learning pit and the importance of being comfortable and confident about jumping into the learning pit as well as knowing what to do to get out of it.  Often, the time between jumping in and working out how to get out of the learning pit, is the most challenging time - and this is when all the learning happens!

Professor Jo Boaler from Stanford University states “If you aren’t struggling, you aren’t really learning.”  She goes on to say “When we embrace struggle, it’s freeing. It changes how we go about our work. We’re more persistent. We interact with each other differently. If you live just a single day with this perspective, you’ll feel it – particularly if things go wrong. It changes those moments pretty significantly.”

Challenges are important parts of life and learning how to deal with them leads to many long term benefits such as:

  1. Challenges during teenage years prepare us for the adult world. They help us to understand that struggle is a normal part of life. We learn that we can manage these challenges and  come through them, often being better for having had the experience.
  2. Facing challenges and learning how to navigate through them build resilience which lays a solid foundation for success in later life.
  3. When dealing with challenges, we often look to others to assist us to work through these. This fosters collaboration as we learn to work with others.
  4. Facing and conquering challenges will often result in a wonderful sense of accomplishment. This in turn helps to build our confidence. 

So next time your daughter presents you with a challenge, please consider asking her what strategies she thinks she can use to conquer this challenge and allow her to climb her own way out of the ‘learning pit”. 

A Student’s Learning Journey by Keely

Keely S. is a student in Year 12 studying Visual Arts. Recently, at a whole school assembly, she shared her own journey of developing her major artwork for the HSC, which has taken her in and out of the learning pit multiple times. Her speech and presentation can be viewed via this link

Ms Silvana Rossetti 
Assistant Principal (Learning and Teaching)

FROM THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL (Pastoral Care/Administration)

Anxiety Alleviating Tips to Maintain Positive Wellbeing

The article below was written by Daniel Merza, Student Wellbeing Specialist.  

“Great leaders create calm from chaos” (Rowdy Mclean - Leadership Expert)

 Children need positive role models, and during these uncertain times, parents and educators are called to step up and be the leaders that children need to bring calm, clarity, and control. Children learn from example - the behaviours they see, rather than the words they hear. What example are you setting amid fear and uncertainty?

 Fear is contagious, and so is calm. By responding to stress and uncertainty with calm, children will see resilience, not panic, in action - which is more powerful than the spoken word - and the greatest way they can learn.

Here are ways that can instil calm in children - Click on this link to continue reading this article.

To conclude,  Inspiring words of the late Pope John Paul II:

 "Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.

Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.

​Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in,

​but with what it is still possible for you to do."


Many students find it really difficult to cope with the memorisation that can be needed for tests and exams. Of course you can’t just rote learn and regurgitate, you need to be able to apply the skills of what you have learnt. However there is also a certain amount of memorisation of content, formulas and definitions for example that will be necessary. So how can students make this process easier?

  • Make your notes as brain-friendly as possible, point form, tables, diagrams and no big long sentences or paragraphs.
  • Start the memorisation process of your notes early, don’t wait until just before the test or examination.
  • Memorisation involves testing yourself over and over and over and over. So read a section, then see what you can say or write down without looking. Then go back and see what you got wrong or didn’t know.  Put a pencil mark next to these bits.
  • Now focus on the bits you didn’t know. Say them out loud, repeat them to yourself, write them down a few times.
  • Then test yourself on those bits again and see if you remembered more this time.
  • Do this over and over and over again. Then do it one more time again.
  • Make flashcards or use a flashcard App on your phone to create flashcards on the parts you find hard to remember. Review these every day before the test.
  • Make a list of the key concepts you find hard to learn and each night read through them just before you go to sleep and first thing when you wake up as these are powerful memory times.
  • Do lots of practise questions without looking at your notes or the answers to see if you can a) remember and b) apply the information. Review the things you did not remember again.
  • Your job is to keep testing yourself in order to find out which bits have not stuck in your memory yet so you can review these until they do.

Learn more this year about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on . Our school’s access details are: Username: mcauley    Password: 189results

Ms Debbie Grigson
Assistant Principal (Pastoral Care/Administration)


Assessment Handbooks

Assessment handbooks have been shared with all students. Handbooks are on the student intranet and are also on the school website :

All students have access to their year group Google calendar that has all assessments and events for their year group listed. Both the handbook and calendars are live, so it is important to double check dates as occasionally there is the need for assessment tasks to be rescheduled.

For Years 9-12, a reminder that if your daughter is absent from school the day of an assessment task please email or call 9849 9128  by 8:30am, letting me know your daughter's name, year group and assessment task they will miss. 

Upon your daughter's return to school she needs to collect an illness / misadventure form from outside my office and return it within seven days.

Ms Katie Paterson
Director of Studies


NAPLAN will not proceed in 2020. This decision was made jointly by all State Education Ministers in response to the COVID-19 virus. The NAPLAN practice test that was to be held on 23rd March is therefore also cancelled.


Students in Year 11 Studies of Religion classes have commenced their senior studies with a unit titled ‘The Nature of Religion and Beliefs’. One of the syllabus dot points is to ‘explore the ways in which these characteristics interact to create a dynamic, living religion’. As the Covid-19 Virus continues to spread, people of faith are responding to the advice of health experts to restrict new cases which illustrates how religion is living and dynamic and responding to the needs of the times. 

Earlier Italy suspended all public Masses until 3rd April. On Thursday, 19th March Very Rev Peter G. Williams, Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia Diocese of Parramatta, announced that “Catholics from the Diocese of Parramatta are from Friday, 20th March 2020 dispensed from their Sunday Mass obligation until further notice (Canon 1248 §2 and Catechism 2181.)”  Other faith traditions are reviewing their practices for worship.During this period it is important that we pray for our leaders, those working in the medical professions and for each other.   

Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary During the Covid-19 Pandemic 

O Mary,
you always shine on our path 
as a sign of salvation and of hope. 
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, 
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm. 
You, Salvation of the Roman People, 
know what we need, 
and we are sure you will provide 
so that, as in Cana of Galilee, 
we may return to joy and to feasting 
after this time of trial. 
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,  
to conform to the will of the Father 
and to do as we are told by Jesus, 
who has taken upon himself our sufferings 
and carried our sorrows 
to lead us, through the cross, 
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.   Amen

Ms Genevieve Banks
Religious Education Coordinator

Project Compassion

• In India, over 70 million people live on less than US$1.90 per day.* 

Sakun lives in a village in central north India. She developed polio as a child and has difficulty walking. Until now Sakun, an indigenous Gond woman, has been isolated in her community, unable to earn a livelihood and without knowledge of government schemes that could help her. 

In 2018, Sakun joined a Caritas Australia-funded program which is implemented by Caritas India and its local partner, Samarthan. With your help Sakun now earns her own income and makes a small profit which goes towards her family’s basic needs. She is more resilient, more confident and more independent. Watch a short film about Sakun’s story. Let’s Go Further, Together! Please support Project Compassion: 

Let’s Go Further, Together! 


Catherine McAuley Celebrates International Women’s Day

Sunday, 6th March was International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and Catherine McAuley celebrated with a number of events and activities for students and staff.

‘The Tree of Wisdom’ in Coolock Court highlighted some of the women who have made a difference in the world; students could explore ‘The Walk of Wonder Women’ and read about amazing women and their achievements; in Homeroom students were asked to make a IWD pledge and pin it to the Walk of Wonder Women and many students wore purple ribbons in their hair to acknowledge the day. 

Some of the student pledges for International Women’s Day included:

“I pledge for gender equality where every woman can do whatever they want without being judged”.

“I hope that every young woman constantly tries their best to reach their greatest potential!”

“I wish for women to have the rights to their own success, dreams, choices and are not subjected to stereotypes”.

“I hope people embrace women and their abilities more - in creating lives, reaching futures and being themselves”.

“I hope all women can speak their mind and are not afraid to speak up”.

Year 12 Student Leaders Attend International Women’s Day Breakfast

On Friday morning, 6th March, the Year 12 School Leaders had the privilege of attending the International Women's Day Breakfast, held at Novotel Parramatta, and organised by the Zonta Club of Sydney Hills Inc. The keynote speakers for this breakfast were Anyier Yuol, a Sudanese refugee now completing a PhD and Hannah Stack, the Hills District Young Citizen of the Year. Both were inspirational speakers and great advocates for equality.

Anyier was born in a Sudanese refugee camp in Kenya and arrived in Australia at the age of 10. She completed a Bachelor of Arts and her Masters at UNSW and is currently working on her PhD. Anyier is also the founder of the Miss Sahara Group which advocates for diversity in the modelling world and she was the 2018 Blacktown Woman Of The Year. Her message was for young women to recognise their strengths and weaknesses and to take every opportunity to engage in their communities at school and locally. Anyier emphasised the importance of developing strong support networks in order to access the many opportunities to make a difference.

Hannah Stack is the current Hills District Young Citizen of the Year. She is part of Stone Enterprises and the chair of YoHu, a young people's entrepreneurial organisation. Hannah emphasised that young people (Gen Y and Millennials) may be more entrepreneurial because they grew up in times of higher unemployment and therefore had to be creative about job opportunities. She also emphasised that young people are more likely to value enjoying a job rather than just making money.

Two Year 12 Students Named Finalists for the 2020 Young Women in Public Affairs Award

Year 12 students Avegail M. and Tram N. were finalists for the 2020 Young Woman in Public Affairs Award organised by Zonta International and announced at the International Women’s Day Breakfast on Friday. Zonta International is an international service organization with the mission of advancing the status of women and invited young women to nominate for the award. 

In addition to being named a finalist Avegail also received a highly commended award in recognition of her leadership roles at school and her fundraising outside of school. Avegail was presented with a certificate and cheque for $200. Congratulations Avegail and Tram!

Ms Joanne Dae
Year 12 Coordinator

Year 12 Student Awarded SES Cadet of the Year Award

In January of 2020 the NSWSES Auburn Unit hosted a school holiday cadet program for students aged 15-17. 

Praveena N., Year 12 was one of several students from Catherine McAuley Westmead that took part in the program. Following the five day program one of the cadet trainers nominated Praveena for the NSWSES Cadet of the Year award for 2019.  Following a meeting of the NSWSES Honours and Awards Committee, the NSWSES Commissioner has endorsed the nomination for Praveena to receive the 2019 Cadet of the Year Award. 

This award will be presented to Praveena at Parliament House by the NSW Premier on Monday, 18th May. We extend our congratulations to Praveena for showing the true Mercy value of service to her community!! 

Ms Joanne Dae
Year 12 Coordinator


Year 12 Student a Finalist in the Cumberland Art Awards for 2020

Congratulations to Year 12 student Riti R. who has been selected as a finalist at the Cumberland Art Awards for 2020. Riti’s selected piece is a photo that she had taken in her Year 11 Photography class and Riti explains below:

“I entered into the Cumberland Art Awards as I have an interest in photography. I submitted a photo that I took in my Year 11 photography class. Using watercolour, I coloured some parts of the photograph to add interest and variety. I was extremely thrilled and surprised when I received an email saying I had been selected as a finalist and my work, 'Finding The Flow', would be on display at the exhibition due to open on 4th April. I am very excited to attend and see the work and creations of other young artists in the Cumberland community”, 

The Cumberland Art Awards has been running for 10 years and is an opportunity to support local artists by showcasing new work in a professional gallery. It is a wonderful achievement for Riti to be selected. Well done!

The art exhibition is scheduled to run from Saturday, 4th April to Sunday, 10th May at the Peacock Gallery in the Auburn Botanic Gardens. The Cumberland City Council website will contain the latest details on whether this exhibition is still going to take place.

Years 11 and 12 Textiles Students Visit Texstyle and Shape Exhibitions

Earlier this month on Wednesday, 4th of March, Years 11 and 12 Textiles students visited the Muse at Ultimo TAFE to view the Texstyle exhibition showing exemplar Major Textiles Projects (MTPs) and their portfolios from the 2019 HSC. Year 11 students also attended an informative seminar discussing the supporting documentation required for their MTPs and how to best present their portfolio. Students also learnt about the Fashion Design Studio. 

Following on from Texstyle the students visited the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences to view the Shape 2019 exhibition which gave them the opportunity to view more HSC works from a variety of subjects. They were also able to view the Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson exhibition: Step into Paradise. This exhibition was very impressive and showed an outstanding colourful display of over 150 garments. 

Ms Elaine Maher
TAS Teacher

Year 10 Geography Study Coastal Environments At Collaroy and Long Reef

Year 10 Geography students were given the opportunity on Tuesday, 3rd March to visit Collaroy and Long Reef beaches as part of their study of coastal environments. The program for the day was led by educators from the Coastal Environment Centre. Students had the opportunity to walk along the beach and observe the different geographical processes that formed and transformed these coastal environments. 

In particular students were able to look at the beach erosion taking place, its impact on nearby developments and some of the strategies being used to stop the erosion. At the Long Reef Headland the students used fieldwork techniques including interpreting photographs and maps as well as collecting and interpreting primary data.

The aim of the excursion was to give the students a deeper understanding of the fragility of coastal environments and the issues that can arise as a result of coastal development

Online Learning in the Parramatta Diocese

As part of my teaching load this year, I am teaching the first online Economics class in the Parramatta Diocese. Catholic Education in the Diocese of Parramatta made its first steps into online learning in 2019 in extension courses in English and Mathematics and in some Industrial Technology subjects. 

In 2020, online learning has expanded to extra subjects such as Economics. Currently, approximately ninety Year 11 and 12 students in the Diocese are studying through this method. Online learning is delivered through the Canvas Management System that has been in place at the tertiary education level for some years. Lessons are delivered virtually through Zoom meetings with students for approximately two hours a week. Once or twice a term the teacher/instructor meets with their students face-to-face at one of the schools the students are based in.

My online Economics class consists of two students from Patrician Brothers Blacktown who are Year 11 students. They were keen to study the subject but there were insufficient students in their school to generate a class this year. Therefore they have joined the world of virtual education and I have the pleasure of bringing Economics to them. So far it is working smoothly for all concerned.  

Mr Tony Taniane
Social Science Teacher

Artist in Residence Program

Every Thursday afternoon during activity time Catherine McAuley has been fortunate to have practising artist Linda Swinfield visit our artrooms to work with students. This is part of the Captivate Artists in Schools / Artist in Residence Program. 

The Captivate school programs provide learning and performance opportunities for students enabling them to connect with Australia’s leading creative arts professionals who can share their wealth of experience and networks. Catherine McAuley has been very involved in the Captivate programs for performing arts and is now able to offer similar for our interested visual arts students.

Linda Swinfield is a contemporary artist who has printmaking at her core. Much of her artworks centre around family, place and memory. She is particularly interested in the aspects of family and the trials of family life. Linda has been working with students each Thursday afternoon in the art studios and helping them with their own printmaking pieces.

Year 8 History Students Learn About Medieval Times

On Tuesday, 17th of March, Year 8 History students had the opportunity to listen to an engrossing visual presentation by ‘Living History Australia’, teaching us about medieval times. 

We were fascinated by the physical weapons and monumental armour on show for us to see as we learned and saw how astonishing these times really were. The chunky, heavy-set chained armour and the razor-sharpened swords taught us through rigorous detail about their usages. Many weapons and tools were identified throughout the presentation. 

We also learned why people in medieval times wore so many layers of clothing, what different weapons were used for, how crucial they were and the various roles they played in medieval times. I, along with many other students from Year 8, enjoyed this wonderful, super-enthralling talk and presentation.

Angelina C.
Year 8

Kindness Project in Year 7 Caritas

Students in Ms Reynolds’  Year 7 Caritas Homeroom recently started a Kindness Project with students writing a ‘kindness challenge for the day’ on pieces of paper which have been put into a jar. Every morning a student draws out the challenge for the day and encourages classmates to try and complete the kindness task. Examples have included things like ‘make a new friend’ or ‘help someone today’.

Harmony Week at Catherine McAuley

Harmony Week is from March 15 - 21 in Australia.  We celebrate Harmony Day to promote diversity and acceptance of other cultures.  The idea ‘Everyone Belongs’ is the very essence of Harmony Day. But it’s not just a time to celebrate and reflect. Harmony Day aims to start a conversation about heritage, culture and community.

The event coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Since 1999, over 70 000 Harmony Day events have taken place across Australia to pay respect to Australia’s unique cultural diversity.

Catherine McAuley Westmead is reflective of Australia’s diverse and multicultural landscape, which should be respected and celebrated!

In The News

Catherine McAuley Westmead was part of the recent Catholic Schools Week feature in the Catholic Weekly supplement on Sunday, 1st March 2020. Here is a link to our article and advertisement if interested. 


Year 8 Pop Art

Year 8 Visual Arts students in 8VAF with Mrs Finnerty were asked to create a Pop Art inspired name for their calico art bag. This is part of their unit of work on Pop Art. 


Swimming Carnival

Tuesday 10th March 2020

Blacktown Aquatic Centre

Our long distance swimming carnival was held off site on Monday, 2nd March at Granville pool for the third year. This carnival is not compulsory and gives the girls a chance to compete in swimming events that are longer than 50m which aren’t held at the whole school carnival. 

We have quite a few elite swimmers attending McAuley so this is a great afternoon for them to compete against each other and showcase their talents in the pool. A big congratulations to all participants as the girls performed at their best and to the teachers and student helpers who came down to the pool to support the students and assist with the running of the event.

Tuesday, 10th March was our whole school swimming carnival which was held at Blacktown Aquatic Centre. We had the entire indoor pool for our carnival which created a great atmosphere! The girls got involved in all the events that were both competitive and non-competitive to gain House points.

We started the day off with the annual cheer off where each House gets one minute to demonstrate a unified cheer they have been working on over the past few weeks. As always, their performances gave onlookers goosebumps as their voices echoed around the pool! The chants were even louder this year as it was an indoor venue. Such passion and pride was shown through their cheering, which new members of staff judged. The winner will be announced at the next school assembly.

The girls need to be congratulated as every student had their House colour on and were involved in the swimming events and cheering over the day. There was a sea of colour surrounding the pool with banners and props representing the seven House colours. There were not many moments throughout the day where the girls weren’t cheering for their peers in the pool.

The most exciting race of the day is the Fastest Girl in McAuley Open 50m Freestyle event which sees the eight fastest swimmers from Years 7-12 in the 50m freestyle event compete for the title. It was another extremely fast race which saw Liberty T. Year 10 take the title! She was followed closely by Irene S., Year 8 and Elizabeth B., Year 12. Click here for a 1.30m highlight video.

This day would not have been possible if it weren’t for all the staff and the House Patrons for encouraging the students in each House to be passionate about their House with cheers and costumes. I would also like to thank all of the parents who took the time to come down and support their daughters and other students during the carnival.  I would like to say a huge thank you to our school sport leaders Jasmine J-H., Year 12 and Lily H., Year 11, as well as our student helpers from Year 11 for their efforts behind the scenes to make sure the day ran smoothly. All of the girls who participated swam really well and performed personal best times. I believe that around two thirds of the student population went into the water on the day whether it was to compete in a championship race or to gain House points in the novelty events.

A special mention to our Year 12 swimmers who have swam in every swimming carnival, both long distance and whole school, since Year 7! These girls include Elizabeth B., Jasmine J-H and Erika L.

Many more photos from the school swimming carnival are available via the album on the School Facebook Page.

House Cheers

A highlight of the swimming carnival is always the House cheers with each House having one minute to perform their House cheer.

Click on the links to view the cheers from each House:

Caritas House

Clare House

Coolock House

Dobson House

Mercedes House

Ryan House

Veritas House

NSW All Schools Triathlon

Congratulations to all the students who took part in the NSW All Schools Team Triathlon which took place on Thursday, 27th February and to the three students who also competed in the Individual Triathlon which took place one day earlier.

In the NSW All Schools Individual event Jamie O’C., Year 9 placed 3rd out of the Combined Catholic Colleges (CCC); Georgia O’C., Year 9 placed 8th and Chloe A., Year 9 placed 13th.

The results for the NSW All Schools Team event for Catherine McAuley are shown below:



12-141SwimmerSamantha T.4th in CCC

CyclerLara P.6th in NSW

RunnerAngelique S.
15-161SwimmerSophie F.3rd in CCC

CyclerJaime O'C.

RunnerChelsey T.
15-162SwimmerIrene S.4th in CCC

CyclerGeorgia O'C.

RunnerChloe A.
17+1SwimmerFreya L.8th in CCC

CyclerMabel B.

RunnerHannah H.
17+2SwimmerChloe W.7th in CCC

CyclerJade P.

RunnerJacqueline H.
17+3SwimmerLiberty T.12th in CCC

CyclerAimee H.

RunnerLily H.


Tuesday, 24th MarchYears 9 and 10 History In-School Activity
Friday, 27th MarchClosing date for Year 7 2021 Enrolment Applications
Wednesday, 1st AprilYear 7 2021 Enrolment Interviews
Thursday, 9th AprilTerm 1 Ends
Friday, 10th AprilGood Friday
Sunday, 12th AprilEaster Sunday
Monday, 27th April

Term 2 Begins
Staff Professional Development Day

Tuesday, 28th AprilStudents begin Term 2
Friday, 1st AprilYear 9 Reflection Day


2019 Career Destinations

At the start of each new year we contact our immediate former Year 12 students to determine their post school ‘destinations’ which is an insightful process and produces some interesting statistics on student choice of courses and career goals. The Class of 2019 had some great HSC results and 79% of the cohort received offers to university. 

With universities and employers increasingly valuing skills and attitudes, not just academic results, many students involved themselves in a range of volunteering and extracurricular activities that meant they were eligible to apply for an early offer. In 2019 we had 45 students receive an offer at Macquarie University through the Leaders and Achievers Program, and another 16 students receive an offer at Australian Catholic University through the Community Achievers Program.

Students are pursuing alternatives to university, with 5% going to TAFE or a private college, and a couple of students taking gap years, or choosing to enter the workforce.

As can be seen from the graph below, the most popular university destination was Macquarie University, followed by Western Sydney University (WSU) and then University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). 

Our most popular degree areas were in Arts and Social Sciences and also Health, which is in line with the rest of NSW students’ choices. Business / Commerce degrees and general Science courses were also popular with our students. It was also great to see that Engineering and IT were strong preferences, which stands out from the usual gender choices in these faculties.

We wish the 2019 cohort all the best with their future career paths!

Mrs Amanda Chahine
Careers Adviser

Career Mondays Lunchtime Talks

The past three weeks have seen a diverse range of careers presented to our students at Career Mondays. 

In Week 6 we had speech pathologists Annelise Green, Jessica Tam and occupational therapist Karen Lee present on their roles in the hospital as Allied Health professionals at Westmead Hospital. It was wonderful for our student audience to learn about the necessary personal qualities needed to work in health such as empathy, kindness and to be curious about people and how the body works. Both roles require flexibility and adaptability to deal with patients' emotional states. A passion for learning is also important to keep up with the latest trends and treatments in health.

Week 7 saw two student ambassadors from the University of Sydney outline their course areas and their various entry pathways into the university. This was a popular talk attended by a significant student audience.

In Week 8 we had a former McAuley graduate, Helen Plesek, who is now a Chief Financial Officer at Bailador investment company, share about a career in business. Helen has an accounting background and had some very practical advice for students on what employers are seeking in graduates and just how important having a part-time job during school is to demonstrate that you can work. She explained how employers are less concerned about what degree you have or where you studied - they are after young people who are thinkers and who know how to learn. 

Helen also shared some of the challenges of often being the only female in board meetings, and the necessary hard work (and long hours) required to succeed in the corporate world. Finding a workplace with a great culture of work-life balance was also some of her advice, as well as having a career mentor to guide you. 

We greatly appreciate the time that our speakers have given in order to share career insights with our students.

Unfortunately, Career Mondays will need to be on hold for the rest of Term 1. 

Mrs Amanda Chahine 
Careers Adviser


Library Ambassadors

At the school assembly on 11th March, the 2020 Library Ambassadors were presented with their badges. Congratulations to the following students:

Year 7:  Karen F. and Jasmine S.
Year 8: Pugalinee K. and Sarah D.
Year 10:  Darby H. and Shreenidhi J.
Year  11: Gemma J.
Year 12: Tram N. and Senara K-D.

Already in our initial meetings the girls have been buzzing with ideas about how to share good reads with the whole school community so it will be interesting to see the ideas come to fruition.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2019 Library Ambassadors for their work. They created wonderful campaigns to share great literature with the whole school community; such as booksnaps, mystery books, took the pop up library out into the playground during lunchtime and organised genre themed movies to be played in the library.

Executive Director Summer Reading Challenge

Congratulations to Elizabeth T. and Kayleigh F. who were both runner ups in the Executive Director’s Summer Reading Challenge. This is an annual competition held over the summer holidays. All students in the Parramatta Diocese are invited to enter by simply writing a short review for each book they read over the holidays. The girls received a $30 gift voucher.

Ms Janine Sabeh & Mrs Kirra Lorenzutta
Teacher Librarians


Notice from Diocese of Parramatta

The Diocese of Parramatta have posted a Covid-19 update dated Thursday, 19th March 2020 which may be of interest to families. This latest update refers to Sunday Masses. Here is the link.

Changes to Hillsbus School Services Commencing 4th May 2020

A few changes to the following Hillsbus School Service routes commencing 4th May 2020 are outlined below:

  • Route 2042 will commence 3 minutes earlier

  • Route 2049 will not operate via Reilleys Rd, Barnetts Rd, Lomond Cres and Caledonian Ave. Affected students should catch Route 2042 instead

  • Route 8005 will commence 5 minutes earlier) 

Click on the link for timetable information.

From the Parents and Friends Committee

CORONAVIRUS: Expert reveals how to boost your immunity

As people panic-buy hand sanitiser and masks, there’s one easy step you can do at home to boost your immunity – and it doesn’t cost a cent.

As fears over the spread of coronavirus reach fever pitch, Australians have stepped into overdrive in order to protect themselves from the deadly disease.

Supplies of hand sanitiser have largely sold out across the country, while demand for paracetamol and masks – despite evidence they do little to prevent you from catching coronavirus – have gone through the roof.

But one expert has revealed there is an easy (and more importantly, free) way to boost your immune system that’s backed by science.

Australian sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo told that we should be aiming for seven to nine hours of sleep a night to make sure we are fighting fit to battle coronavirus.

“Evidence shows that lack of sleep impairs immunity: Studies show a 70 per cent reduction in natural immune cells after four to five hours of sleep,” she said.

“As a result, you aren’t able to fight off contagious viruses, such as corona, as effectively. Fortunately, this reduction is amended as soon as you have sufficient sleep (seven to nine hours).”

Even getting just a little bit less sleep – like staying up an extra hour to finish that season of Peaky Blinders you’ve been bingeing on Netflix – can have a huge impact on your health.

“Further research shows individuals are four times more likely to contract a virus after five or six hours sleep rather than seven – so even just a little bit less sleep than normal wreaks havoc on your body,” Ms Arezzolo said.

Besides making sure we are getting shut-eye for seven to nine hours a night, how you sleep is also crucial.

“(You should sleep) seven to nine hours, however, the quality of sleep is more important – by practising healthy sleep habits such as limiting blue light in the evening, taking a sleep supplement, meditating and applying lavender oil, you’re more likely to sleep deeper,” Ms Arezzolo said.

“And this, rather than the number of hours, is what matters most.”


Sleep is crucial in allowing your immune system to run as smoothly as possible – with clinical psychologist and sleep disorders expert Michael J Breus likening your immune system to a football coach, with sleep the halftime break.

“Good coaches make adjustments at halftime, after recognising what their opponents are doing effectively. Sleep plays the same role for your immune system, giving it a chance to fully assess any threats,” Dr Breus wrote for Psychology Today.

“The immune system can then deliberately tackle antigens, directing its cells – or players in this analogy – as they mount a counter-attack. Without enough sleep, though, your body will have a hard time implementing the best game plan to fight back against illness.”


According to Health Direct sleep has two phases – rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep.

There are four stages of non-REM sleep and all are essential in making sure you recharge and can function well the next day.

REM sleep – where your eyes move rapidly, blood pressure goes up and your brain is active – occurs every 90 minutes, with adults spending around one-fifth of their night in REM sleep.

This sleep stage is when you usually dream and is believed to be important for learning and creating memory.


While not everything is known about coronavirus, previous research has found sleep is a major factor in determining whether you catch a cold.

Last year, a study conducted by the University of California in San Francisco had 164 participants track their sleep for a week.

Afterwards they were put into a hotel and exposed to the cold virus through nasal drops.Those who had gotten good sleep – at least seven hours per night – were less likely to get sick.

In contrast those who had six hours or less were 4.2 times more likely to catch the cold.

This research suggests that poor sleep is the main factor when someone gets sick – more than age, stress level, race and income, according to Dr Breus.

School Fees Reminder

A reminder that school fees were due on Wednesday, 18th March 2020.