Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College - Newsletter

Volume 24 Edition 6 - July / August 2019

Welcome to St Mark's College eNewsletter

Head of College

HSC Trials

Our prayers, our good wishes and our constant support is with each of our HSC students that commenced their Trials Exams on Monday.  We are so proud of where you've reached and whilst we have every confidence in your abilities, you need to also believe it.  The emotional POWER of the mind makes a huge difference so whilst it's totally understandable and acceptable that you may be anxious, unsure etc, also remind yourself that you have, and you are doing everything you can to further polish or indeed in some cases, to fill the gaps that may exist.  Keep prayer at the forefront of your mind and to ease your anxieties and challenges. Your teachers are to be congratulated for the enormous amount of time and (own time) effort they have given during recent school breaks, afternoons and evenings.  Always try to do your best in preparations, then whatever may occur thereafter leaves you with the knowledge that you put your all into it. 

Future Enrolment Applications

By now, most would be aware that 2020 Kindergarten and 2020 Year 7 were closed late 2018 with all subsequent Applications on Waiting Lists.  Please be advised that within  these Waiting Lists, existing students' Sibling Applications take precedence and priority for whenever an upcoming or future vacancy is notified to us.

There are a few positions still available for 2021 Kindergarten and 2021 Year 7 so if you are a current parent and have not yet done so, PLEASE contact Mrs Mervat Sidhom on 9825 6768 to outline what is required and then complete this process as quickly as is possible.

50 Years Jubilee Celebration of the Coptic Church in Australia

Sunday 4 August saw the Coptic Diocese of Sydney & its Affiliated Regions formal dinner celebrating 50 Years of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Australia at the Cumberland Lounge at Bankwest Stadium.  A tremendous THANK YOU to each of our volunteer students who participated either in the Combined Colleges Choir or as Ushers, to our amazing Staff for all they did before, during and following the event, to our gracious and ever supportive Father, His Holiness Pope Tawadros ll and his partners in the Apostolic Ministry His Grace Bishop Daniel (Diocese of Sydney & its Affliated Regions), His Grace Bishop Daniel (St Shenouda Monastery) and His Grace Bishop Suriel; our NSW Coptic Schools Board and the Diocese Public Relations team, to our sister Colleges Heads, students and Staff and to all the invited guests including Church hirearchy, His Excellency the Ambassador to Egypt with Consuls, the Hon Premier of NSW and Ministers and MP's, Distinguished dignitaries and to our wonderful community that attended from all local parishes and interstate - all joining together to remind ourselves of what those pioneers from the first and early Australian Coptic community had instigated with the Church, and rejoice together in 2019 for not only what has been achieved, but also where we are headed.

From our College Chaplain: Rev Fr George Nakhil

How Do We Honour Saint Mary? 

By Fr. Tadros Yacoub Malaty - December 27, 2018

Some may wonder how the humble Saint says in her praise to the Lord:

“For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name” (Luke 1:48-49)?

Does she ask for herself praise or glorification from humanity across the ages, for she became, through the incarnation of the Logos of God from her, greater than the heavenly hosts?

Her praise here is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity. For the Father planned the incarnation, the Son was incarnate, and the Holy Spirit dwelt upon her. He prepared her for this divine and wondrous act, according to the words of the angel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore also, the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

She was praising God in the name of all humanity, because of the free divine salvation. This is the praise of every true faithful, who experiences the work of God in his life and the sweetness of the token of the kingdom of heaven.

He looked to the humility of His maidservant

She calls all generations to remember her gazes upon He who was born of her, for He is the Logos of God incarnate to offer up Himself for the world (John 3:16). This Saviour is no longer far away from us, for He dwelt among us (John 1:14), and raised His kingdom in us, when He said. “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).

Saint Mary calls us to look to our depths to witness our Saviour, incarnate of her, establishing His throne in our hearts.

In humility, we marvel at His dwelling inside us, for through His Holy Spirit, He shapes us every day, renewing us and sanctifying us that we may in truth become a living icon of Him!

All generations shall call me blessed

If praise is enjoyment of the blessed angelic life, we therefore praise her for she became the greatest example in all humanity, for she became a second heaven. Our blessing of her is fulfilled not only through singing the Theotokias, which are praises of God’s work in the mother of God, “Theotokos”, but also that we increase from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 2:18), and we are qualified to sing: “Hail to the Church, the house of the angels.” Who are these angels? The believers who praise God continually without ceasing and become like angels of God.

Saint Mary does not need any of us to bless her, but rather she rejoices in our repentance and return to the Saviour and our resembling of the heavenly hosts, and our tasting of the union with the choir of the angels!

Just like the mother and the father rejoice with the success of their son and feel as though they themselves succeeded, likewise, Saint Mary rejoices whenever we join the group of the blessed ones.

Whomever desires to bless Saint Mary, first must start with meeting her Holy Son, and sing with his heart and mind before his tongue, saying:

“O You who established from the poor virgin, a mother for Yourself O Creator of heaven and earth, Establish from my weakness a member in Your Holy Body, In Your one only universal and apostolic Church. O Holy One, sanctify me with Your grace, and prepare me to enter Your paradise, and join the choir of the heavenly hosts. Grant me, I- the ash and dust, to enjoy the token of heaven!”

For He who is Mighty has done great things to me

What are the great things that the Mighty did with her?

  • He who was born of her is “the Holy One”, thus; she became sanctified in Him and by Him. She turned our sights from the waste that we descended to through sin, to focus our sights on the Holy One who dwells in us, and prepares for us a place and will come to take us with Him!
  • The saint became the “mother of God”, the place of amazement of the heavenly hosts, and we became through Christ Jesus children of God the Father, a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit, and members of the body of Christ! In truth, we became a workshop of the Holy Trinity.
  • Through the incarnation of the Logos in her womb, she enjoyed the union with attributes of our Lord Jesus. The mystery of every virtue in her life is her union with the Saviour. Therefore, we should not marvel when we hear Peter the apostle say “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4)
  • With every blessing of Saint Mary, we also bless the Church, the Bride that encompasses members from Adam to the end of ages, from all nations, peoples and tongues!

    To You belongs glory, O Lover of Mankind, O who desires that everyone is saved and come to the knowledge of truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

    Upcoming Dates

    Term 3 - 2019

    Wed 7 AugTheotokos fast commences
    Thu 8 AugEarly bird Liturgy @ 6 - 8 am
    Thu 15 AugEarly bird Liturgy @ 6 - 8 am
    Fri 16 AugK-6 Book week commences
    Tue 20 AugPerformance: Meerkat Production
    Thu 22 Aug

    The Assumption of the Theotokos

    Early bird Liturgy @ 6 - 8 am

    Wed 28 AugYrs 5 & 6 PD Session @ 6:30-7:30 pm
    Thu 29 Aug

    Early bird Liturgy @ 6 - 8 am

    P & F Fathers' Day Stall 10am - 1pm

    Fri 30 AugP & F Fathers' Day Stall 10am - 1pm
    Mon 2 SepFathers' Day Breakfast

    Technology updates

    Bring Your Own Chromebook ( BYO-CB )

    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    We would like to invite all the students in Years 7 - 10 to participate in the Bring Your Own Chromebook Program which commenced in Term 2 - 2019. At this stage no students are obliged to join; however, if you wish for your child to participate in this exciting move, please access the following web page for further information which includes our policies and agreement. 

    St Mark's Bring Your Own Chromebook - Page 


    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

    Best regards,

    Remon Metira

    IT Manager 

    Download the SkoolBag App

    The SkoolBag app is the easiest way keep up with school events, last minute notices, newsletters and all school communications.

    Curriculum updates - Mr Peter Joseph

    Curriculum News Years 7 - 12

    Trial HSC

    Our Year 12 students commenced their Trial HSC examinations last Monday. As a College community, we collectively pray for them and know that they can do their best with God’s guidance.

    Trial HSC exams are held in the Hall and there are very strict rules for students in terms of Hall access. These are in place to preserve the quality of the examination environment for our Year 12 students.


    Year 11 Exams

    Year 11 exams commence Friday of Week 6. A timetable will be released to students shortly along with a letter to parents. Year 11 students are only required at school for their examination during the examination block.


    Subject Selection

    On Monday 29 July, the College welcomed current parents and students of Years 8 and 10 to the 2020 Subject Expo. This date was specifically chosen to allow parents and students engage with the academic performance of students throughout the whole of Semester One to assist in the decision-making process of selecting subjects.

    Round One preferences are now closed to students and the College will take this data and construct the 2020 subject lines. In the coming weeks, these lines will be made available to students for their reference ahead of Round 2 selections.


    Study Skills – ELES

    In Term 2, the Secondary School completed the ELES Study Skills Handbook program. This program is now available to the entire College community. The program is an online resource and provides parents and students with tips and strategies to enhance study, organisation, time management, physical surroundings, alleviation of anxiety, and many more.

    To access, go to: 

    Username:   stmarks

    Password:    52success

    Education Perfect Awards

    Congratulations to our SCIENCE faculty and students across all year groups for their outstanding achievement in Education Perfect SCIENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS!  Such an amazing increase from 2018 results.  

    Please take 2 minutes to look at the following Award Certificate and look at the Rankings and Achievements of the College compared to all national and international schools within the program - VERY IMPRESSIVE.

    Student Study Tip for August: The importance of quality sleep for students

    Sleep is crucial not just for physical and mental well-being, but for the consolidation of learning, and to ensure you perform in all your endeavours in peak condition. The absolute last resort should be to sacrifice sleep time in order to get things done.

    How much sleep is right for you? This is tricky as everyone is different. Some lucky people need only 6 hours a night, most people need about 8 hours and some people need 10 hours!

    Two ways to tell if you are getting enough sleep:

    How quickly do you fall asleep at night? If you fall asleep instantly that can be a sign you are not getting enough sleep, it should take 10-15 minutes to fall asleep.

    How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? If you feel tired and sluggish then that can also be a sign that you need to get to bed earlier.


    ·       Avoid caffeine (cola drinks, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate) after dinner or even better, no later than 4pm.

    ·       Organise as much as you can at night to minimise what you have to do in the morning (e.g. organise your clothes for the next day, pack your bag).

    ·       Try and have a half hour to an hour before you go to bed without computers, TV, phone or any electronic devices or homework or chatting to friends. If you can’t do that, at least put the devices on night mode or turn the brightness down.

    ·       Set up a relaxing ‘wind-down’ routine for before you go to bed. Do this same routine every night (e.g. warm shower, reading, listening to quiet music) so your brain associates these activities with bed time and sleep.

    ·       A drop in body temperature near bedtime triggers the sense that is time to go to sleep. So after a warm bath or hot shower, cool yourself down. It is also better at night to be cool rather than overheated.

    ·       Keep your room as dark and as quiet as possible at night.

    ·       When you lie in bed, start at your feet and mentally imagine relaxing each muscle as you slowly work your way up the body. Most people do not make it up to their head before they fall asleep!

    ·       In the morning open the curtains wide or go out into the sun and get lots of light to help wake your brain. Being exposed to lots of natural light during the day will also help the body produce the melatonin at the right time for a good sleep cycle.

    ·       A healthy breakfast will help to kick-start your body clock for the day.

    Primary School

    Primary School News - Mrs Silvia Nada

    Welcome back to yet another exciting term the Theotokos Term 3. I pray that you had a restful break!!!

    This term we had a colourful start with our new vibrant, bright playground which was done over the break and will be completed by next week God willing.


    At the beginning of each term every student receives a parent information

    Semester one report

    If you have not received your child’s report in the mail, please let the classroom teacher know.

    Do not hesitate to approach the staff if there is any queries regarding your child’s report.

    Healthy Eating

    Please make sure there is only one packaged food item in your child’s lunch box. To reinforce healthy eating habits, the teachers will continue to encourage the children in making good choices, checking their lunch boxes, displaying posters in the classroom and many more activities.


    Thank you to all the families who participated in the survey. The data collected has been analysed, summarised and shared with the staff. The data is also used to guide us with our future planning.


    Homework is an important part of your child's learning.

    It gives them a chance to:

    ·         work through the things they have learnt at school

    ·         strengthen their long-term understanding of the topic or activity.

    Homework helps your child to develop study skills that they will use for the rest of their life. Homework is also a chance for you to get involved and help and in your child’s learning.

    In the homework you should be receiving:

    Spelling words/vocabulary, Writing component, Comprehension, Maths, reading and many more activities the teacher may choose to add to the homework as required.

    Please do not hesitate to approach your child’s classroom teacher if there are any concerns with homework.

    Progress Report and Parent Interviews

    This term you will be receiving a progress report for your child and parent teacher interviews will be held in week 9 on the 16th and 17th of September. A link to school interviews will be sent to you in week 7 via dojo to make an appointment with the classroom teacher.

    Pick up time

    Please be advised that pick up time is at 3pm if you are running late, please advise the classroom teacher. Any student who can not be picked up by 3:20 will be sent to the office and parents will be contacted. Please also be advised that there is before and after care which can also be arranged in these situations.

    God bless  

    Primary School BOOKWEEK K - 6

    Book Week is the longest running children's festival in Australia.  Each year, many schools spend a week celebrating books and Australian authors and illustrators. The event aims to highlight and promote the fun and learning associated with reading books for children.

    The date for Book Week 2019 is   August 17th - 23rd and the Theme is “Reading is my secret power”. The  program for this week will be as follows:

    ·       Tuesday      20/8   : Meerkat  production  performance

    ·       Wednesday 21/8  : Book Fair

    ·       Thursday    22/8   : Book Fair

    ·       Friday       23/8    : Book Parade and Book Fair

    ·       Monday    26/8    : Book Fair

    ·       Tuesday    27/8    : Book Fair


    Parents & Friends News

    On behalf of the P&F Committee of St Mark’s College, we hope you all had a safe and enjoyable mid year break. 

    By the Grace of God, and with the blessings of H.G Bishop Daniel, St Mark’s College will be holding their Annual P&F Dinner on Sunday 8 September.  We invite you and the whole family to join us for a 4-hour Harbour Cruise, including buffet dinner, drinks, some live entertainment and plenty of  Sydney Harbour views. (The Cruise has purposefully been booked for an early start for an early finish so that families are able to take children home to settle and rest for school the following day.)

    Buses will be available from St Mark's College at Wattle Grove and St Mary’s College at Bexley. You can select your table and encourage your friends to join you on your table. 

    Early Bird tickets save you 10% and early bird discount ends Saturday 17 August.   

    Please head to the try booking website.  Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the Harbour Cruise dinner to support our children and our school!  Sincerely, the P&F Committee.Lydia, George, Susan and Peter.