St Agnes Catholic High School

June Newsletter - Term 3, Week 3 2022

St Mary Mackillop Feast Day - August 8th

On Monday the 8th August, we recognise Saint Mary ‘Of the Cross’ Mackillop. Mary Mackillop, as we are aware, is Australia’s first Saint who was cannonised (made a Saint) by Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI  on 17th October, 2010 in Vatican City. 

Mary Mackillop was a trail-blazer in the way she led her life, and the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and more commonly known as the Brown Joeys due to the brown Habits her and the Sisters wore. Mary paved the way for education of poor children and a variety of ministries which addressed the needs of her time in the nineteenth century in the Australian context.

Her Legacy continues today in countless ways. Mary inspires us to be courageous and hopeful and to have a deep faith in God who provides for us all. Mary Mackillop has shown us how to forgive and to be compassionate; she is a saint for us all today.

Prayer for Saint Mary Mackillop

Ever generous God,

You inspired Saint Mary MacKillop

To live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and constant in bringing hope and encouragement to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy.

With confidence in your generous providence and through the intercession of Saint Mary MacKillop

We ask that you grant our request.

We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit so that we too, like Mary MacKillop, may live with courage, trust and openness.

Ever generous God hear our prayer.

We ask this through Jesus Christ.


From the Principal

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends, 

Welcome back to Term 3 to all students, staff and parents as we commence Semester Two of our academic year. I hope students and parents found the recent holiday break to be restful, allowing plenty of time for their families to enjoy their time together.

Our students have settled back into their normal school routine and appear rested and refreshed. Term 3 is a busy term for everyone. I encourage students to engage with the many opportunities available at St Agnes and involve themselves in the life of the school.

Year 12 July Study Sessions and Major Projects

During the July holidays, our Year 12 students participated in Study Sessions, a time provided that enabled them to work on Major Projects for their HSC. I would like to thank the Year 12 teachers who gave their time during their break to work with our students. Learning is a partnership, and the success of this program is testimony, not only to the commitment that was displayed by our senior students, but also to the dedication and professionalism of our teachers. We are so fortunate to have such hardworking staff who go over and above for our students. 

Semester One Reports for students were sent to families via Compass towards the end of last term. I was delighted to see that many students have demonstrated impressive academic achievement in a range of areas. Results such as these are achieved through the effort, dedication and commitment by students to their studies. Well done to all students. Student Led Conferences took place in the last week of Term 2 and the first day back this term. These conferences are a  great opportunity for students to take responsibility for their learning and provide a time for them to set future learning goals. It is also an opportunity for parents to receive feedback from theYear Mentors about their children.

World Youth Day 

During the week Mr Madigan, Mr Harry Sadsad and I interviewed a number of Year 9 and 10 students who were interested in being a St Agnes pilgrim at next Year's World Youth Day in Portugal. Mr Madigan, our Head of Mission has announced our representatives whose names are  below. Their commitment to their faith was so lovely to witness. 

Our Journey to the Cross, and the unpacking of this significant event for the Catholic Church will be explored throughout the next 12 months through various media communications to our community, as we support our nominated representatives.

World Youth Day was an initiative that was initiated by Saint John Paul II, when he announced the institution of World Youth Day on December 20, 1985, and the first official WYD was held in 1986.The  reason for this was because Palm Sunday directly followed the very first World Youth Day, coinciding with the United Nations International Year of the Youth, therefore the Holy Father called the Youth to Rome. World Youth Day is an encounter with God, the Pope and the wider Catholic Church. It is celebrated every three years, however, last year was the exception due to Covid. Next year pilgrims will travel to Lisbon in Portugal. There all pilgrims will gather to form the body of the Church, listen to the word of God and the mission of the Church delivered by the Holy Father, and give witness to their faith and how it can be expressed globally. The Parramatta Diocese will see our pilgrims immerse themselves in their faith beginning in Paris, France , Lisbon, Portugal, and finally Italy - Assisi the birthplace of St Francis and St Clare of Assisi. This will be especially poignant for our community.

2022 Commonwealth Bank Teacher Awards

Congratulations to Mrs Lauren Walters. On Friday  22nd July Lauren Walters received the 2022 Commonwealth Bank Early Career Teacher Award. The recipients of this award are recognised for their leadership, innovation, and tenacious commitment to their students.  There were 12 Fellow Teachers and 10 Early Career Teachers who were winners from across Australia; the official publication can be found on the Schools Plus website along with the recording of the award ceremony if you would like to watch it.

This is a huge achievement and we are very proud of Mrs Walters.

HSC Trials

CSPA 2022 Parent Survey on Student Wellbeing and Learning

Have your say on what matters regarding the wellbeing and learning of your child. If you are a parent or carer with a child in a Catholic school, CSPA would love to hear from you.

Click on the survey link and share your feedback to assist CSPA in reporting to the Federal Government and Catholic education. Your feedback will remain anonymous.

The Catholic School Parents Association (CSPA) is an advocacy group for parents and carers of students attending Catholic schools in NSW. 


Subscribe to our Google Calendar

CLICK HERE to access our Parent Calendar. Click subscribe at the bottom to connect the school calendar to yours and stay up to date with school events 

1 - 15 AugustTrial HSC
9 AugustPDSSSC Athletics Carnival
16 AugustYear 12 back @ School, Year 7/10 Vaccinations
19 AugustDebating - State Championships
2 SeptemberYear 7 Maths Incursion, Year 8 Maths Incursion
5-9 SeptemberYear 11 Exams
21 SeptemberYear 12 Graduation Mass and Award Ceremony
22 SeptemberFinal Day of Term 3 for students
23 SeptemberSpirituality Day

From the Assistant Principal -Learning Transformation

Welcome to Term 3! It has certainly begun in earnest and our students are making the most of the learning opportunities presented to them.

Our Year 12 group participated in Study Sessions during the July vacation period. Opportunities were provided for them to work on their Major Projects and to reinforce key learnings from the previous term. This was in the form of workshops, presentations and mock-essay style questions under timed conditions. This experience was rather valuable and for the students who used the time appropriately, they will benefit from this in their Trial HSC. 

On that note, these examinations are currently taking place and will conclude on Monday 15th August. These examinations, apart from being the final in-school assessment, will allow the students to experience what the actual HSC will feel like in October and November. Each Year 12 student will be able to achieve their personal best IF they have prepared and sought help from their teachers.

It is important that parents and carers of students in the following HSC courses are aware that these courses have actual HSC tasks due during this term. This is before the HSC examinations in October. In these courses students often complete and submit an item or undertake a performance task that is considered part of the actual HSC exam and therefore the HSC examination mark.

Course ExamDate
DancePractical15 August
Industrial Technology - TimberMajor Work Submission11 August
Visual ArtsMajor Work Submission29 August

Our Year 11 students are well into their final term of work before commencing their HSC in Term 4. From Monday 5 September until Friday 16 September, all students will sit the Final Examinations in order to qualify for their Record of School Achievement. The students are strongly encouraged to make the most of their time in class, complete the set learning activities and see their teacher if they have any questions.

Our Year 10 students are now in the process of considering their subjects for Year 11 and 12. At this point in time, students and parents will be able to meet with a member of the Leadership Team or a Leader of Learning in order to discuss their selected pathway. The aim of this will be to ensure that each student selects subjects suitable for them and their personal goals.

In the next few weeks the students in Years 8 and 9 will be given the opportunity to consider the electives they would like to study in 2023. A Handbook will be distributed and the students will be presented with the subjects we offer on top of the Mandatory Courses in Stage 5. Students are encouraged to now think about what courses they might like to select next year and be prepared to ask clarifying questions when information is presented to them. 

Our Year 7 cohort has settled in well to life at high school and they come to school each day eager to learn. This semester they are now experiencing a different side to Technology Mandatory and also, the students have swapped from Music to Visual Art or vice versa.

Top 10 Tips for parents to manage and communicate expectations about schoolwork and results

If parental expectations are too low, students may not strive to achieve their personal best. If parental expectations are too high, this can contribute to high levels of student stress. So how can parents find the right balance? Some areas to consider are:

  • Understand your own motivations: Why do you want your child to achieve particular marks in their studies?  Is it because you have pressure from family/friends/society about what your child will achieve?  Do you want them to follow in your career footsteps?  Do you want them to have opportunities you never had as a child or young person?  Understanding your own motivations will help you find balance in your expectations of your children.
  • Help your children to set realistic goals: Keep talking to your children about what they want to achieve, in individual subjects, at school overall and in other aspects of their life.  Their career goals may mean they want to focus intensively on something like art or music, rather than maths or science.  Helping them to identify their goals will enable them to determine what subjects they need to focus on and what marks they are likely to need, which means that effort can be concentrated on the areas which will help them to achieve their goals.
  • Be involved in your children’s learning: Throughout the term talk to your children about what they are studying.  Ask them to show you their bookwork and homework.  The more you understand about what they are doing and how they are going along the way, the better you will be able to set and manage your expectations.
  • Make sure you really communicate what you expect: Many students feel like they are not meeting their parents’ expectations.  Often this is a result of poor communication about expectations by both parties.  Reflect on your motivations (see 1 above) and think about how you communicate your expectations to your children.  Remember to praise them for the effort they make rather than the results they achieve, this way they are motivated to keep on trying, even when learning is difficult.
  • Develop an understanding of the school’s assessment and reporting structures: Assessment and reporting systems change over time and are different in different schools, states and countries.  Making sure you really understand what your children’s reports mean may help you to understand what they are actually achieving.  Sometimes students are excelling in certain skills or areas, but reporting structures may not highlight these.
  • Remember nobody is perfect: Even the brightest, most highly motivated child will struggle at times.  They may struggle to understand a particular topic or concept, or they may struggle with motivation, particularly for a subject they don’t particularly enjoy.  Problems with teachers or peers can also contribute.  It is unrealistic that anyone can work with 100%  effort all the time.
  • Provide practical homework and exam support: Provide practical help to your children with things like proofreading and reviewing drafts, checking work and listening to speeches.  Remember though, it is not your work, so don’t make changes, rather make suggestions and provide guidance.
  • Spend time together doing something fun: Make sure your relationship with your child is about more than homework and study.  Allocate some time to do fun things together.  This is the time in which your child is most likely to open up to you about the things that they are struggling with and you can work out how best to help them.  Ideas include going for a walk or run together, having a dinner date (even to Maccas) or having them show you the latest funny videos they like.
  • Support your child to do their best: You can do this by providing healthy, nutrient rich food; opportunities for exercise, rest and relaxation and an environment which is supportive of and conducive to study. 
  • Keep alert for the physical and mental signs of stress: Familiarise yourself with how your child responds to stress.  Do they withdraw?  Act out?  Work harder or stop working?  When you notice that your child is stressed provide them opportunities to discuss what is worrying them and work with them to identify how you can help them.  You may wish to involve the school counsellor, a teacher or tutor at this point.

Our school’s access details are:

Username: stagnes

Password: 24success 

Suggested topics: Home Study Environment, Organisation & Filing, Time Management Skills, Managing Workload, Dealing with Distractions, Overcoming Procrastination, Developing Motivation and Goal Setting.

Mr Kemmis

Assistant Principal - Learning Transformation

From the Assistant Principal - School Culture

Wellbeing tips to help your teen get through their Trials and their HSC


The HSC can be very stressful for teens and their families. We wanted to share some tips with you to help what can be a highly stressful and worrying time.

1. Help with time management:

  • Helping them get up in the morning

  • Encouraging a healthy sleep time/bed time routine

  • Getting to know their HSC timetable, maybe keeping a copy on the fridge!

    2. Staying positive at all times

  • Supporting your teen to not feel too pressured

  • Using positive expressions and be encouraging

  • Limit criticism and judgement, it is possible your teen is feeling very sensitive at this time.

    3. Encourage a healthy lifestyle

  • Encouraging a healthy diet, protein such as meat, fish and eggs can help the brain

  • Avoid junk and high sugar foods, this may impact concentration

  • Sleep 7-10 hours a night, this will help the brain recover from the day, consolidate information and prepare for the day ahead

  • Get some exercise, this can be a simple walk around the neighbourhood, great for de-stressing and getting those happy hormones flowing.

    4. Help manage distractions

  • phones, tablets, netflix - these can all take up more time than we had planned, discuss some healthy boundaries around the use of technology.

    5. Be calm and help deal with stress

  • Create a calm environment at home, maybe help transform your teens room into a calm space

  • Take a walk together

  • Do a bit of yoga, focus on calm breathing

  • Smiling mind is a great free app to help manage stress and learn mindfulness for you and your teen

Finally, don't forget to look after yourself, the HSC can create a stressed household not just for your teen but for other members at home too

Activities You can do at home as a family to support wellbeing

Wellbeing for everyone is something that requires constant attention and time. We are all busy, but some of the activities below might be something that help not only increase individual well being, but may help to bring families together as well.

Gratitude Attitude

Families can take turns at the dinner table to discuss the things that they are thankful for for that day or week. These can also be written down and posted on the fridge or in other areas that are viewed regularly. The more we can be thankful for, the more positivity we can attract as well.

Get Out in Nature

Western Sydney has so much to offer for families wanting to get out into nature. Nurragingy Reserve is close along with Western Sydney Parklands, the Nepean River and the BLue Mountains all within driving distance to some of the most beautiful natural settings. Connecting to our local country helps us to slow down and take a break from our busy lives and appreciate the little things nature has to offer. 

Random Acts of Kindness

Our current Year 12 leaders are creating this culture right here at St Agnes. The idea here is that you look for opportunities to make someone else’s day better. Whether that be by doing something nice for them, giving them a small gift or words of affirmation or anything else that will just make them smile. Thank you to all our Year 12 students who have been involved in this. St Francis said “ For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life”

Mr Hilder

Assistant Principal - School Culture

From the Head of Mission

World Youth Day 2023 - Lisbon, Portugal

Pace e bene. Peace and blessings to all members of the St Agnes community.

Theme -“Mary arose with haste” (Lk 1:39)

As I write this we, as a school, are in the final stages of organising our Pilgrims who will be representing St Agnes and the Parramatta Diocese at the World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. This pilgrimage is a significant event for the young members of the Diocese and the global church. Past Pilgrims have reflected on their journey of formation and encounter with their faith as a truly enriching experience, and it is hoped that the new pilgrims who will be representing the school  will also encounter their faith and develop it through prayer, catechesis and community celebration.

Our staff leaders attending are Miss Josiah Raad and Mr Luigi Zucco, and our student pilgrims are; Angelica Prasad, Paula El-Ghossein and Faith Russell.

Further information will be provided at an information evening on Thursday 18 August from 5:00-9:30pm at St John XXIII Catholic College Stanhope Gardens for those students selected.

Peace and Blessings

Mr P Madigan

Head of Mission

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Around the Classrooms

Our Seniors 'Making a Difference' through Volunteering with the Vinnies Van

Some of our St Agnes Senior students have discovered a new way to volunteer and help the less fortunate through Vinnie's Van. On July 21st, our first group of Seniors visited Mount Druitt and Parramatta and distributed food, drinks, and warm clothing. Akshay Maharaj, Aken Khon, Jamie Ocampo, and Halouf Gafour were among the students in the group, and Mr Mangion and Ms Chapman joined them. The evening was full of smiles and new friends, all while the community was taught communication skills through interacting with the customers. Our students now have another chance to improve society with the launch of Vinnie's Van at St Agnes. The Vinnies Van Volunteer experience was enjoyable and fulfilling. It has taught us that bad times affect everyone equally and that catastrophe can happen at any time. It is fantastic to know that such support is available through the St Vincent de Paul Society because we never know when our personal circumstances may require us to seek the assistance of this nature. The Mt Druitt and Parramatta community are incredibly fortunate to have this service offering a consistent beacon of hope to so many who are hurting. Everyone should engage in volunteering since it is a very incredible experience.

Akshay Maharaj, Year 11

Haka Warrior Program - Cadence, Leader of Youth of the Pacific

Last week, myself and other leaders attended Blacktown PCYC for the leadership workshop. It was about the progress we have made since the start of the program. I think we have progressed throughout the Haka Warrior Program. At the start of the program, no one knew each other and barely spoke to each other but overtime as the group got to know each

other, they became inseparable.

We learnt about how to connect with other leaders from other schools and help out others if they need help. We also learnt how we need to work as a team and not by ourselves or there would be no connection between that barrier. I learned that it’s okay to fall but I have to find a way to pick myself up.

The workshop has had an impact as being a leader is not easy. It comes with dedication, trust and commitment. The part that I enjoy the most about being a leader is the Leadership Workshop meeting and also having fun with the group as they progress throughout the program. The Leadership Workshop has changed my mindset into going into this program by getting to know other leaders at other schools and also knowing that I have someone who supports me in this program.

During the program, we were involved in some activities, Turning nursery rhymes into a haka; Tug of war and Haka practice.

I enjoyed everything about the whole day. We even got to see and take pictures with the NRL players Brian To’o, Jarome Luai and Nathan Clearly. We also learnt a new haka and will be leading and supporting other students in the program to learn it as it will be performed on the day of the competition - it was amazing. I loved every single bit of the day.

From the Careers Advisor

WSU Leadership Summit 2022 - Year 9

Selected year 9 and 10 PASIFIKA students attended a Western Sydney University Leadership Summit on Thursday 28th July 2022. Students engaged in workshops and had a chance to attend the Kingswood Campus. This summit aimed to up-skill Year 9 students with the right tools and strategies to become better leaders, not only within their schools but in the wider community. Students engaged in sessions that focussed on the importance of leadership and more specifically, Pacific leadership in a Western landscape.
Students of PASIFIKA background should register if they wish to be a part of any further upcoming excursions or programs run by Western Sydney University.

Subject Selection - Year 10

We have had a busy start to the term with students and parents meeting with Leader of Learning: Diversity and myself as we navigate what their future pathway plans will require of them in terms of subject selection or transition into traineeships and apprenticeships. Last term students had time to meet with various staff members, attend a careers expo, experience St Agnes' Career Markets and carry out a range of diagnostic ability mapping to inform themselves of a variety of suitable pathways for their futures. This term's meetings will finalise their commitment to two years of subjects at St Agnes or alternative opportunities including School Based Traineeships, and Vocational Education or transition into alternative educational settings. For more information on HSC Subject choices please visit


Students in Year 12, who are planning to transition into University, have received many reminders and have had face-to-face sessions with me regarding applying through the University Admissions Centre (UAC) for their choice of degrees. Mrs Collimore and I will continue working with some students on their Equity Access Scheme (EAS) applications but students should be reviewing the categories and if they believe they qualify should be downloading the requirements and complete these applications. If they require assistance they can meet with me to assist with administrative requirements. The deadline for EAS is 22 November 2022. Furthermore, many students have applied for School Recommendation Scheme (SRS) and we will continue rating and submitting these to UAC as students complete them. The deadline for this is 19 September but please do not leave it this late as they need to be processed and submitted.  Many scholarships are now open with Universities so ensure you are on the mailing list for your chosen universities so you don't miss out on the latest information, particularly regarding open days and deadlines for applications. The deadline for Equity Scholarships through UAC first-round offers will be 9 December 2022. Your e-portfolios will be coming in handy now for all of these applications.

ACU STEP UP Early Offer Programs - Year 11

Students in Year 11 have been attending a range of information sessions and finalising applications for Step Up Into Teaching (SUIT), Step Up into Business, Step Up into Allied Health and Step Up into Exercise Science. These opportunities allow students to apply for courses at Australian Catholic University that will offer either conditional or unconditional offers depending on results achieved in the courses. We have had a great response to these programs. SUIT applications are now closed, however, if students are still interested there is opportunity to apply until mid-August, although the applications will close as soon as courses are filled to capacity. The link to register is here:


...............................CHANGE OF UNIFORM SHOP HOURS..........................


Monday 8am - 12pm    AND   Wednesday 12pm - 3.30pm

Compass parent app

Compass will become our primary parent communication tool for day-to-day operational matters, upcoming events, notices and notifications so it is essential that all parents download the app.

It is more important than ever that we are able to communicate effectively, especially when it involves the safety of our children. If you haven't already, we ask that parents download the Compass app onto your device for either Apple or Android. 

Compass is a web-based system allowing you to access up-to-date and meaningful information about our school and your child’s progress. Compass includes many different features, including the ability to:

  • Be informed of important updates, events and reminders
  • View your child’s timetable
  • Review your child’s attendance
  • Provide explanations for periods of absence
  • Update your contact details
  • Book Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences.

Compass is accessible on any modern web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) or by using the Compass iOS or Android apps.

Canteen News

Eligible students can receive free travel to and from home and school on approved metro, train, bus, ferry and light rail during term.  Apply now.

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