School Newsletter

Term 4 Week 9 - 11th December 2020

From the Principal

Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of St Catherine’s,   

I am sure that for many of us, there is some sense of relief that 2020 is coming to an end. I don't think we could have anticipated at the start of this year, just how much our lives would be impacted by the events of a global pandemic. The disruption to what we knew as 'normal' has certainly challenged us to think, act and live differently. I am grateful that in South Australia, our experience and importantly, the overall disruption for our children and their learning has been relatively minor compared to that of our national and international neighbours.  

As we conclude the 2020 school year I wish to acknowledge and thank our staff, students and parents for the way each and every person has gone above and beyond to support our community during what has been a significantly challenging time. I honestly believe that it is through the 'ordinariness' of our day to day that we have the opportunity to create 'extraordinary' experiences and there have been many moments of genuine care and concern for others shown throughout the year. 

On Tuesday we gathered for a whole school Mass where Fr Fred and several students helped us reflect on and give gratitude for the many people that have helped us through 2020. This was followed by a Graduation Mass on Wednesday where we farewelled our graduating year 6 students. We also held our award ceremony where we presented a number of awards to students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and achievement across a variety of areas. Congratulations to the follow award recipients: 

Environmental Award – Angus

Sports Award – Elka and Max

The Arts award – Genevieve  

Year 6 St Catherine’s Award – Lucy P 

Heysen citizenship award – Lucy W 

Dominical Old Scholars Award – Heidi  

Mon. John Swann award – Eamon 

Celine Smerdon Award – Olive  (Yr 5) 

 I wish each of our year 6 students every success as they start their next chapter at a new school in 2021. 

We farewell Chiara Brown who has been working in the R/1TB class during semester 2 this year. Chiara quickly created positive relationships with the students, staff and parents of St Catherine's and we are grateful for her time with us.  

We also farewell Stephen Heuzenroeder who worked with us during Term 4 as a School Chaplain. Stephen was able to support a number of our students as well as engage our year 5 students in a program of leadership development in preparation for their time as year 6 leaders next year. 

Louise Kilpatrick who has worked half a day a fortnight as a school counsellor at St Catherine's this year also concluded her time with us and we wish her all the very best for the future. 

Finally, after many years as a student, parent, OSHC worker and grounds and maintenance person we say goodbye to Stella Bellosguardo. Stella has decided that it is time for her to move into retirement which she will commence at the beginning of next year. On behalf of the St Catherine's School community I thank Stella for her many years of service and wish her all the very best for this next phase of life.  

I leave you with this reflection shared in a recent Dominican Education in Action article.

This year, after the chaos of 2020, the challenges of COVID-19 and the many experiences of isolation and fear that came with this strange and dramatic period, we wait for Christmas with a special need for renewed hope. This year we look forward to the peace and joy of Christmas perhaps more than we have for a long time.

Advent is a time of ‘waiting’ which takes on profound spiritual significance.

We are called to: Keep Awake. There is nothing passive about our waiting. We wait in hope that newness of life is real and trustworthy. We wait in hope as we actively engage with the world and respond to its challenges.

The Christian spiritual belief is that Christ is at the heart of who we most deeply are as individuals and as community. We wait again to discover Christ ‘at one’ with us and alive in all humanity. A Christian fundamentalist might be tempted to try to figure out a literal time and place where God might physically reappear. They’d be missing the point. Our Catholic tradition is much more at home with the profound spiritual significance of ‘waiting’ to discover that Christ is already here with us and that the time is constantly “now”. Advent reminds us to “wake up” and prepare to experience all over again the extraordinary presence of ‘God with us' -  Emmanuel -  in the here and now of our everyday existence. 

As the great Dominican Meister Eckhart announced:

“What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the Son of God fourteen hundred years ago, and I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and in my culture? We are all meant to be mothers of God. God is always needing to be born.”

May we give birth to Christ in our time and in our culture this Christmas. 

Wishing you all a happy, safe and peace-filled Christmas. 

Kind regards, 

John Low


St Catherine's School


St Vinnie’s Christmas Appeal

This term we were thrilled to support the St Vinnie’s Christmas Appeal and collective a variety of festive and essential food items. We welcomed Paul Somers to our school to speak with students about the work of St Vinnies and how even small acts of charity can make a big difference to those in need. Many students also crafted Christmas Cards to be included with the Christmas Hampers, wishing the recipients a Merry Christmas. I extend a warm thank you to all those families who have been able to contribute to this appeal this year. Your generosity continues to be very much appreciated. 

Celebrating Advent

In the lead up to Christmas we have been acknowledging the weeks of Advent by taking part in a candle lighting celebration. Classes have explored the way in which we prepare for special events, the significance of liturgical colours and recognising the importance of being ready for the coming of Jesus. We have gathered as a school to take part in a short prayer led by students, lighting a candle for each week of Advent. As we now move into the third week of Advent, with a focus on Joy, we are reminded to joyfully await the coming of Jesus on Christmas Day. 

We Farewell our Year 6 Graduates

Our Year 6 students were farewelled and wished every success as they formally graduated from St Catherine’s School. Their theme for the occasion was 'Shine Your way' and we truly wish them every blessing as they continue to shine their light on all they meet as they continue their journey.  It was wonderful to be able to take part in the associated celebrations which recognised their time at our school and the contributions they have made during this time. This much anticipated event was celebrated in style with a Graduation and Farewell Mass and Graduation Dinner with their parents in attendance. Thank you to Fr Fred for sharing in these celebrations with us. We wish each and every one of our graduating students a restful holiday break and smooth transition into their secondary schooling. 

Matthew 5:14-16 

 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 

Farewell Year 6 2020

Christmas Carols Come Alive During Covid

Our End of Year celebrations have taken on a different look this year as we have worked to navigate the restriction requirements. Students in Reception to Year 4 were unable to perform their Christmas Carols live for family and friends so instead they were able to record these and have them shared with families. Students enjoyed learning these songs and working together to perform them in front of a camera. We were glad to still be able to celebrate and share some Christmas spirit through this mode of delivery and wish all our families and wider community a safe and blessed Christmas season.  

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a safe and blessed Christmas with family and friends. After a truly busy year, may it be a time of rest and be filled with love and laughter. For those who are travelling during this time, go safely, and I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2021. 

Many Blessings to you all, 

Krystina Dawe 

Assistant Principal, Religious Identity and Misson 


Thursday 24th December – Christmas Vigil

Friday 25th December Christmas

  • Mass Lobethal at 11.00a.m. (registration before Mass)

N.B. All registration need to be in by Monday 21st December 2020

Other School News

Year 6 Graduation

On Wednesday 9th December our Year 6 students celebrated their graduation from primary school. The day began with a celebration Mass and Awards Ceremony in our school Hall. It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience Mass at St Catherine’s one last time and to be blessed by Father Fred as they move onto their new chapters.

We celebrated our St Catherine’s Award winners and recognised a number of students who have made outstanding contributions and wonderful achievements in various areas of our school community.

Students and their families also came together on Wednesday evening to celebrate the end of their time at St Catherine’s by having dinner together at The Summit in Mt Lofty. The night was a wonderful success filled with beautiful reflective speeches from each of our Year 6 students and a video which was made up of memories that these students have been a part of during their primary years. The Summit was a lovely backdrop for such a special occasion.

We wish the graduating class of 2020 all the very best for their future learning journeys.

Nikki Hall

Year 6 Teacher

Year 6 Graduation

Thank you for a great year of School Banking.

Thank you to all  students who  participated in the CommBank School Banking program this year. Whilst the program was paused in term 2 due to COVID, it was great to see so many students return in the last 2 terms.

Any tokens that have not been redeemed this year can be carried over to 2021.

Thank you to Suzanne Mitchell who will be taking over the coordination of school banking next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Jacinta Toy

Parent volunteer - School Banking Coordinator

Catholic School Parents SA

The South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools (SACCS) is pleased to announce the formation of Catholic School Parents SA as the new representative body of Catholic school parents.

Catholic School Parents SA will connect with parent groups across the 101 Catholic Schools in the State.

Chair of SACCS, Professor Denis Ralph, said “Parents and carers have always played a pivotal role in the success of Catholic schools in South Australia.  This new parent representative and advocacy body will further enhance parent engagement and participation in the education and care of children and young people in Catholic schools in South Australia.”

In 2020, the Commission engaged an independent reviewer to consult with parents in all Catholic schools to seek their feedback as to whether they felt they had an adequate voice in the education of their children and what kind of support they would like to see in the future.

“While acknowledging that the current structures have served parents and our school communities well in the past, the review recognised that parents and carers have busy lives and are looking for new ways to engage in and support the education of their children,” Professor Ralph said.

Catholic School Parents SA will be closely aligned with Catholic School Parents Australia, the national body that represents and advocates for parents and carers of children and young people in Catholic schools across Australia, and will seek to have broad representation of parents of students in our schools.

The new group will:

•  Engage in a program of listening to the needs of parents across Catholic     schools

•  Advocate for improved funding and support for children and young     people in Catholic schools and preschools

•  Ensure parent voice in policy development

•  Represent parents on a range of committees and working parties

•  Participate in the work of Catholic School Parents Australia.

“We are excited by the opportunity to engage with parents in our schools in new ways in 2021 and beyond,” Professor Ralph said.

Schools will receive further information early in 2021.

Professional Practice

A Celebration of Reading 

We had a wonderful week of celebrating books and reading in Week 3 this term. The children loved the opportunity to dress up for our Book Week parade. Thank you to Milly and Isla for their fantastic hosting. During Book Week we also held our annual Book Fair. This year our school raised $500 to go towards more books for the Treehouse.  

In addition to this, we have received an email from Mark Williams, Manager of the Premier’s Reading Challenge and our school has been selected at one of the 55 Outstanding Premier’s Reading Challenge Schools. This is a brilliant achievement and in ‘normal’ times we would be invited to the Premier’s Reception. The Premier’s Reading Challenge is a literacy engagement program that was introduced in 2004. The aim is for students to read more books and support a love of reading. The challenge involves students to read 12 books from the beginning of the school year until early September. Over the coming weeks we will be handing out the certificates and medals to students.   

Whole School Data Collection 

Your child may have come home in the past week or so and discussed with you some ‘testing’ they have been doing in class. Each year students from year 2-6 are part of our annual assessment collection – Progressive Achievement Testing (PAT). This year we introduced the Early Years achievement testing. Progressive Achievement Tests are designed so teachers are able to investigate and monitor student learning over time, as well as targeting teaching to improve learning outcomes.   

Corey Lewis 

Leader of Professional Practice 

Wellbeing and Inclusion

The Royal Melbourne Hospital has designed ‘5 ways to Wellbeing’. The ‘5 Ways are based on extensive international research about the modifiable determinants of wellbeing. Here are some suggestions that I encourage everyone to incorporate into their day especially over the summer holidays.

Connect: find time each day to focus on the people who matter most to you.

Be Active: take a walk or bust out those dance moves. Consistent physical activity is well known to lower stress and anxiety and improve mood, not to mention strengthening your immune system.

Keep Learning: Read books, complete puzzles or learn to paint or draw.

Be Aware: Practice Forgiveness. Look for opportunities every day to let go of the judgements you make about others. Practice gratitude. Make a habit of noticing all the things that are right in our lives, because as hard as this time is, it could be much, much worse. Experience your own backyard; smell the flowers; lay down on the grass or observe the sky.

Help others: Find a way to be of service every day. Who around you needs a meal delivered, their mailbox checked, their pet walked or a phone call for support.

Feeling as if people belong, is an important part of Wellbeing. Last week our 2021 Receptions were welcomed to our school for their transition program. An initiative that we have re-introduced this year, was to present all Receptions with a book about St Catherine’s. The books share information about what children will experience when they start school.  The looks on the faces when the children received their own book was priceless.  We certainly hope that they enjoy sharing their book with special people in their lives.

On Monday, the children gathered in their 2021 class groups.  This was a wonderful opportunity to welcome new people to our school and to share information about us and talk about our hopes and dreams for 2021.

From welcoming to saying farewell.  At the end of the year it is with a heavy heart that we farewell some students and their families from our school. As these students embark on another journey in their lives, we wish them well and I would like to provide them with an Irish blessing… “May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” Take with you many happy moments of your time at St Catherine’s and keeping following your dreams.

I would like to thank everyone for their support this year in what has been a very unusual year.  Finally, I would like to wish everyone in our community a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

Melinda James

Leader of Learning. 

Community Notices