St Agnes Catholic High School

March Newsletter - Term 1, Week 6 2022

From the Principal

At St Agnes, education is more than just what happens in the classroom, it is the process of contributing to a student’s overall development as a person. There are many opportunities that enable our students to develop as a person. The last three weeks have been very busy with much happening within the St Agnes community that has provided opportunities for students to grow as an individual.

Ash Wednesday Liturgies

On Wednesday, 2nd March, each Stage participated in an Ash Wednesday Liturgy which was organised by Mr Patrick Madigan and Mr Harry Sadsad. I thank both for their organisation of the Ash Wednesday Liturgies.

The Liturgy marked the commencement of the holy season of Lent, a time for reflection and prayer while we prepare ourselves for the coming of Easter, the most important time in the Church calendar. Through prayer, fasting and giving alms, we are reminded of Jesus' death and Resurrection. Jesus brought the promise of hope to all people so that we may “Have life and have it to the full.”(John 10:10).    

Swimming Carnival

The swimming carnival was very memorable, especially given the previous restrictions due to Covid. The weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of our students; they enjoyed the day, participating in competitive and novelty events. A big thank you to all staff  and students for getting into the spirit of the day and working together to ensure the day was a success. Thank you Mr Luke Dempsey for his work in organising the swimming carnival and to all staff who supported him in the lead up to and on the day.  

The winning House of the carnival was MACKILLOP.

School Tours and 2023 Enrolments

The enrolment process for 2023 has commenced. On Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd March  Mrs Elizabeth Gale, Mr Ben Di Lenno and I visited the 4 feeder schools to talk to Year 6 and distribute enrolment packages. There was much enthusiasm with Year 6 students asking many great questions. I would like to thank our feeder primary schools for allowing us to visit Year 6 and making us feel so welcome. 

This week, members of the School Executive took groups of prospective parents and students around the school to assist them to see what St Agnes has to offer. These tours were an opportunity for prospective parents and students to walk around the school during the school day to see our facilities. Further, it enabled prospective students and parents to ask questions. The weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of our visitors. The feedback from those who participated in the tours was very positive.

If you have a daughter or son who is in Year 6 and you want them to attend St Agnes in 2023 it is essential that you submit your enrolment form by May 27, 2022. Unfortunately, there were some students who missed out on a place at the school this year because they left it too late to submit their enrolment form.  

“Our Bright Future” Program.

As part of a broader Catholic Education of Parramatta initiative, St Agnes Catholic High School Year 10 students are participating in the “Our Bright Future” program. All Year 10 students completed a survey this week which identified their capabilities.

This program partners with a company called AbilityMap, whose co-founder is Kevin Chandler, one of Australia’s most recognised business leaders and an expert in human performance and work. Leveraging AbilityMap’s solution, we will be able to collate useful data that will allow us to identify opportunities to develop the skills and interests of our students in a targeted manner. 

The program will first gain insight from the Western Sydney business community to identify the inherent qualities in demand across industry. This information will be used to understand the inherent capabilities of our students, both as a group and individually. Then they will  evaluate inherent capability strengths and opportunities that exist within our students, in relation to the needs of Western Sydney businesses. With the comparison insights, CEDP will co-construct learning components to build our students’ skills in areas that are needed by the business community.

Thank you to Mrs Nicole Tomich, Mrs Nashwa Karafotias and  Mr Adam Scarpin for leading and coordinating this initiative. It will be very beneficial for our students and identify opportunities for our students.

Young Indigenous Women's STEM Academy

The Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy (the Academy) aims to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females undertaking studies and careers in STEM. The Academy does this through targeted, long-term support to help overcome the barriers that discourage Indigenous women from pursuing STEM careers.

I am thrilled to announce that Eli Kendrigan, Jewel Osborne and Jordana Jacobs from Year 10 have been accepted into this program.

CSDA Public Speaking

Congratulations to our public speaking team. The students performed very well and should be proud of their achievements. Pranay Chand (Yr 12), Anjali Sharma (Yr 10), Chloe Favour and Andrea Plaatjes (Year 8) progressed to the Zone Final held last Friday with Andrea Plaatjes progressing to the Final. We wish her all the best. 

I would like to thank our dedicated teachers Mr Patrick Loughlin, Ms Hayley Fielding, Ms Bronte Dunne, Ms Silvana Dahdah and Mr Chris Walton who have been coaching the public speaking team this term.

2021 ‘How we travel to school’ Feedback

The Catholic Education Diocese Parramatta (CEDP) contracted Frank Turquoise, Transport Strategy and Planning, to conduct a travel survey in October 2021. Many families indicated that better bus services would be very helpful. Responses indicated that the following would be beneficial:

· Improved waiting area at school (153, 31%)

· More frequent public transport (97, 19%)

· Having a bus route in my neighbourhood (93, 19%)

Consequently, St Agnes now has two additional school bus services in the afternoon which should help with overcrowding. We are working with Busways to monitor the effectiveness of these new services. 

Students can help us show Transport for NSW the importance of this service by always tapping on and off the bus with their Opal card. This enables Transport NSW to understand how full the buses are.

Parents also raised concerns with students walking and cycling to school. The footpath network connecting the school to other neighbourhoods has gaps which makes it more difficult to walk and cycle. It was noted that the following would assist in overcoming this:

· Better crossing of Evans Road (107, 21%)

· More footpaths (98, 20%)

· More weather protection (70, 14%)

· Backup options in case of inclement weather (60, 12%)

· Bicycle and scooter parking (38, 7%)

We have listened to your feedback and identified some priority walking and cycling improvements we would like to see occur to help students travel more easily to school. We have communicated these priority issues to the Council and are working with them to introduce improvements, along with discussions about improved weather protection for the bus stops near the school.

Creative Hub Building Update

​​It has been an exciting start to Term 1 as the construction of the next stage of St Agnes has begun. This build, expected to be completed in July 2023 is much needed. It will include new Technology and Science rooms for timber, metal, clean technology, including 3D printers and laser cutters; there will be food technology rooms and new canteen facilities. Included in the 'Creative Hub' will also be new Art rooms. Additionally, there will be several new learning spaces for students to grow and learn in this exciting new space

The last 3 weeks of wet weather has stopped site excavation, but we are looking forward to construction recommencing next week.

Mrs Jeanette Holland



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14-16 MarchYear 7 Camp
18 MarchNational Close the Gap Day / Harmony Day
21-25 MarchYear 9 UNSW program
22 &24 MarchNAPLAN Practice
28 - 1 AprilYear 12 Assessment Week
30 March Cross Country
1 AprilYr 11 RYDA Program & Workshop
5 AprilYear 12 Retreat (held at school)
6 AprilYr 11/12 TAS excursion
7-8 AprilYr 8 Camp
8 April

Journey to the Cross (Passion Play)

Term 1 Concludes

25 April

Anzac Day

26 AprilTerm 2 Commences

From the Assistant Principal -Learning Transformation

We are well into the first term of 2022!

Despite the current weather obstacles and the presence of COVID, our students, whether Year 7 or Year 12, have settled themselves into learning and are focussed on the goals ahead. We do want each student to be responsible learners here at St Agnes and be aware of what is due and when.

The Assessment Handbooks have been issued to all students and I do ask that parents take some time to discuss upcoming assessments with their child. There are specific requirements around tasks, particularly in Years 10, 11 and 12. These students have been spoken to regarding the rules set by NESA and the importance of adhering to these.

A few quick points about how to be a successful learner:

Student Diary - this provides the best means by which students are able to organise their school life and parents and teachers can communicate with each other. Students are required to record each lesson’s daily home learning activities and assessment tasks in their diary. The diary is an important reciprocal tool of communication between home and school. 

Student Study Timetable - this is designed with the intention to support a student’s home learning, assessment, co-curricular and personal organisation during each term. All students should be writing when their tasks are due and what activities they have organised in their life, as well as, looking at and reflecting upon the outcomes of their learning activities. 

Compass - Parents are encouraged to log onto and use the Compass app - it is the school’s communication portal. Parents have been provided with a username and password. It is important to know your child’s timetable; when their tasks are due, when assessments are taking place and when ‘pressure points’ occur during the term. 

Reading - All students should be reading for at least half an hour every night. Parents are encouraged to set aside a time each night to read with their child and/or to ensure that their child is engaged in reading as opposed to social media. 

Regular Study Habits - Please read below for the instalment from Prue Salter.

Study Skills Tip: Prioritising using Rock, Pebbles, Sand

Do you ever find that you spend a long time doing little fiddly things then find that you have no time left for the larger tasks you need to get done?

Try this experiment. Take a jar, some rocks, some pebbles, and sand. What happens if you put the sand in first then the pebbles? The rocks won’t fit. But if you do it the other way, put the rocks in first, then pop in the pebbles around the sides of the rocks, then sprinkle in the sand it all fits in no problem at all.

What does this mean? It is an analogy for how to make the most of blocks of time. If you do the big tasks first (the rocks), you will find time for the smaller tasks (the pebbles) and you’ll easily sprinkle in the sand (the little fiddly things). So if you deal with the rocks first you’ll still find time for the other tasks to fit around it.

But it doesn’t work the other way. If you deal first with the minutiae, the small things, you end up giving short shrift to the more important tasks and deplete your energy on these little things. And the little things will expand to fill the time available.

If you find this technique too challenging, you can set yourself a strict half-hour or so to knock over as many of the little things as possible before you start. Once time is up, you then use the block of time to work on the big important tasks. So draw up a table with 3 columns and put all your work into these columns.

ROCKS are the important and urgent tasks.

PEBBLES are the tasks that may also be important but are not as urgent.

SAND is the little fiddly tasks that you can slot in anywhere.

Do the rocks first, then the pebbles, then the sand.

Another approach you might like to try is the Rule of Three.

Rule of Three Technique

  • Circle the top 3 tasks that need to be done. What is most important and most urgent?
  • Put them in order from 1 to 3.
  • Start at the first task and complete it before moving on to the second.
  • Once all three tasks are completed, look through your list again to choose the new top 3 tasks.
  • Don’t cheat yourself – you have to complete fully the first task before moving to the second.

First, write a list of everything you need to do. Circle the top 3 tasks that need to be done. What is most important and most urgent? Put them in order from 1 to 3. Start at the first task and complete it before moving on to the second. Once all three tasks are completed, look through your list again to choose the new top 3 tasks. Don’t cheat yourself – you have to complete fully the first task before moving to the second. 

There are many different methods of prioritising. You need to try different ones and see what works for you. You will find more in the Time Management Skills unit on

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: stagnes

Password: 24success

Mr Geoffrey Kemmis

Assistant Principal - Learning Transformation

From the Head of Mission

Pace e Bene

Peace and all good

What a busy start to the school year it has been. Since our last newsletter there have been quite a number of events involving the Mission Leaders of the school. 

These took the form of Outreach initiatives, Lifted Leaders Conferences, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday Liturgies, St Vincent de Paul - Vinnies Van training  and the launch of Project Compassion for 2022.

Lifted Leaders 2022

'Lifted' leaders gather secondary school leaders from all diocesan schools at the start of each year to gather input and receive inspiration from Bishop Vincent, CEDP leadership and CYP (Catholic Youth Parramatta). This  program acts as a precursor to the Breakfast with the Bishop - Student Leader Forum that takes place in Term 2 at Commbank Stadium, Parramatta. This 'Lifted' event connects young people, from across the Diocese, with similar leadership responsibilities and provides an opportunity for formation and group sharing and their team goals and strategies for their school.

St Agnes sent our 4 senior leaders, the School Captains Abhishek Maharaj and Julia Freeman, and our Senior SRC and Diversity Leaders, Emma Johnston and Aiden Priestley. Their key take-aways from their leaders event are:

Julia Freeman

Last Thursday, 24th February, the leaders of St Agnes, Abhishek, Aiden, Emma and I were invited to attend Lifted Leaders at West HQ. This was an amazing opportunity for us to get to know leaders of other schools in the Parramatta Diocese, as well as to learn more about ourselves as leaders within the Catholic community. Bishop Vincent provided us with additional knowledge into our faith and how we as leaders can implement aspects of our beliefs, morals and values into our leadership roles. We were able to receive ideas from other leaders, share our vision for our school, as well as share the ways in which we wish to assist our school in the coming terms in 2022. This event allowed myself as a leader to dig deeper into my personal reasons for becoming a leader and share my ideas that I am willing to pursue at St Agnes. It was incredible to meet the leaders of other schools which share the same values as our own. A lot of students shared their perspectives on our Catholic community today and allowed us to connect with them on the common ground of our faith.

Emma Johnston

My experience at the Lifted Leaders Day at WestHQ was very pleasant and informative. We had the privilege of interacting with student leaders from across the Diocese and communicating our pathways to leadership, our goals, and passions for leadership through catholic faith. We did a variety of hands-on and collaborative activities that allowed us to further understand our Catholic religion and the best ways to develop and better our school communities. I learnt about the importance of our role and the impact it has on not only our school community but the different aspects of our lives and its ability to affect our futures positively. 

Aiden Priestley

The lifted leaders event was an eye opener, as well as an event to listen to other people ideas so we can change and incorporate the ideas into our school to make the school a better place. Some objectives I heard from the other leaders were amazing and it is my wish to incorporate these ideas into the school, for a fun learning space about God. It was also the time to reflect on ourselves to see what we can do to improve our leadership skills and qualities. The event also let us reflect on God and why he chose us for this path and his plans for us in the future. 

Abhishek Maharaj

Hi, my name is Abhishek Maharaj and my experience of Lifted Life was to say the least, monumental.  Individually I walked into this experience with an open mind, to learn about the common faith as a community, to meet leaders from other Catholic Diocese schools, to learn further about our faith and implement our faith together. Walking out of this event, I learned about expressing our faith collectively through an establishment in connection with leaders of other catholic schools. In turn, this resulted in personally learning about new and upcoming ideas to help develop and strengthen our Franciscan Community. The leaders of each school correlated with the Parramatta Diocese and were able to influence achievable ideas to me and my fellow peers to strengthen our school community and to build relationships to truly understand how the catholic faith is expressed through each school and what each leader does to strengthen the community.  This experience influenced me to self-reflect more often, reflect on my contribution to the school, what I'm doing for the community and what I need to do more to be better.  The Lifted Live experience was humbling and truly opened my understanding of how our catholic faith can be implemented through school in simplistic ways, to strengthen our community,  and what the leaders can do to represent and act as a model to all ages.

Shrove Tuesday

On Tuesday, 1st March, we marked Shrove Tuesday by selling pancakes to the school community. Students were asked to donate to Caritas in order to receive their pancakes. This small donation will go towards a family or community in need, not just here in Australia but globally. Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter.This was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday Christians go to confession and are Shriven (absolved of their sins).

 Prayer for Shrove Tuesday

God of feasting, 

We give you thanks for the richness of life.

As Jesus turned water into wine at Cana, 

We think of your desire for all your people to celebrate life.

Bless us as we celebrate the joy of being your people, and send your Spirit upon us.

As we are about to enter the Season of Lent, may it to be a celebration, 

An inward journey of contemplation and wondering.

And in all this, 

May we grow closer to your son, Jesus, to one another, and to you.

This we ask in Jesus’ name.


Ash Wednesday

On Wednesday, 2nd March, the school community came together in Stages for our liturgies. Ash Wednesday is celebrated seven weeks before Easter and the day after Shrove Tuesday. This is a Christian observance which represents the first day of Lent and the starting of approximately 6 weeks of fasting and penance. The ashes that were placed on the forehead are the remnants of the Palms that were burnt from the previous year's Palm Sunday. Teachers, whilst distributing the ashes, used the following from the Roman Missal and applied it generally by stating  'Repent and believe in the Gospel.’ Students and teachers were then invited in quiet reflection to think about their own personal lenten journey and what it will bring.

Project Compassion

On Thursday, 17th February, Year 10 Portfolio Leaders, along with Mr Sadsad, attended the Launch for Caritas - Project Compassion 2022. The theme for this year is ‘For all Future Generations’. This opportunity provided the 10 leaders to sit and think of a plan of raising awareness of those in our community that are in need. Students were addressed by Bishop Vincent, Leaders of Caritas Australia, Leadership from CEDP as well as an expert speaker - Sr Ivy Khoury (FMM). Sr Ivy spoke about the communities in Africa that she has worked with to ensure a better quality of life. Students launched this to our student body as part of our Ash Wednesday liturgies, charging students with the challenge of how they can make a difference to others. Over the next 5 weeks, the Caritas Leaders will provide various opportunities in which to raise awareness and fundraising for Caritas.

International Women’s Day

On Tuesday, 8th of March, we came together as a community to mark International Women's Day.  The theme for this year's event was ‘Break the Bias’. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn't enough. Action is needed to level the playing field. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women's achievements or rally for women's equality. 

Prayer for Women on International Women's Day 

Gracious God, 

We pray for all women around the world.

Strengthen us all to stand in solidarity with our sisters experiencing poverty, injustice and trauma.

Open our hearts to listen and serve all who come.

Give us the courage to hope and work for a better future for all women.

Awaken us, that we may fully realize our interconnectedness to our global human family.

Guide us with your spirit, to welcome, champion, practically and joyfully love each other.


Peace and Blessings,

Mr Patrick Madigan

Head of Mission

Vinnies Van

On Wednesday, 2nd March, from 2:30pm-3:30pm twenty Year 11 students participated in training for St. Vincent De Paul’s Vinnies Van service. 

Vinnies Van is a service that visits people in need, those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness - Vinnies Van caters for anyone that may approach the van. They provide food, drink and friendship to people on the streets, respecting the dignity of every person that approaches. Those who approach the van are very appreciative of the service given. St. Vincent De Paul’s "Vinnies Van" services the Parramatta, Mt Druitt and Merrylands communities 364 days of the year.

Mr Bernard Mangion

Vinnies Van Coordinator

Around the Classrooms

CSDA Public Speaking 2022

On Friday, February 25th, after a rain-soaked swimming carnival, 12 students represented St Agnes in the CSDA Public Speaking Competition via zoom. Students choose topics ranging from 'The Little Things' to 'Call It for What it Is'.  All students performed admirably, with 4 students students; Andrea Plaatjes, Chloe Favour, Anjali Sharma and Pranay Chand proceeding through to the Zone Final last Friday. Due to our power outage they were forced to zoom their speeches from home. As with every year the competition was intense but Andrea Plaatjes spoke well and went through to the Public Speaking Grand Final for the second year in a row. An amazing effort. 

A big thankyou to Ms Bronte Dunne, Ms Silvana Dahdah, Ms Hayley Fielding and Mr Chris Walton for coaching and supporting the students, as well as, Mr Usman Khan and the I.T. Department for all their technical support. 

We wish Andrea every success this Friday afternoon as she competes against the best speakers in Year 8 from across Catholic schools in Sydney. That’s after she competes in the Zone Swimming Competition! She’s a busy girl. 

2022 CSDA Public Speaking Team

Year 7: May Alkhouri and Erika Mercado

Year 8: Andrea Plaatjes and Chloe Favor

Year 9: Hayley Shepherd and Linda Alkhouri

Year 10: Purva Kumar and Anjali Sharma

Year 11: Eva Norton and Grace Valades 

Year 12: Pranay Chand and Abhishek Maharaj

Mr Patrick Loughlin

Leader of Learning - English

Two-time Public Speaking Grand-FInalist

Year 8 working on their CO2 Dragster Car Design sketches in class


St Agnes Catholic High School is conscious to keep parents up-to-date during the current circumstances. Communication with families will primarily be via text/email through our Compass platform. Please ensure your mobile number and email is current. This can be access through your child's Compass account.

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.

Message from Samantha - Family School Liaison Officer

We have partnered with local community organisations and have received generous amounts of back to school packs which include, backpacks, ruler, pencil case, exercise books, highlighters and pen. 

If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact me during school hours, Monday - Friday during school term on 0427 068 429.

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.

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

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