St Agnes Catholic High Rooty Hill Newsletter

Term One : Issue 2 |6 March 2020

From the Principal

Pace e Bene!

Last week we began the Lenten journey. Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

For forty days, we accompany Jesus on his passionate journey to Calvary and give witness to the mercy he showed despite his suffering. Like Jesus, we try to show mercy to others, just as God shows us mercy. During these 40 days, let us take time to reflect on our lives and say sorry for any wrongdoing. This repentance and reflection help to lead us towards a meaningful Easter. Lent is a time of hope as we renew our relationship with God.


God of all peoples and nations,

As you accompany us on our Lenten journey,

May our fasting strengthen our commitment to live in solidarity,

Our almsgiving be an act of justice,

And our prayers anchor us in love and compassion.

Awaken our hearts and minds that we may be one human family

As we all go further together.

We ask this in Jesus’ name,


International Women’s Day March 8

 This Sunday is International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual. The focus is on an equal world as an enabled world and is drawn from a notion of “Collective Individualism”. We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively we can make change happen for the many who are not experiencing equality.

Enrolments 2021

The enrolment process for next year is well underway. We had many prospective families attend Open Night this week. This was an opportunity to view the school and meet current students and staff. It is always humbling to see the vast number of students who want to assist on occasions such as this. It is this pride that they have in their school and their learning that makes St Agnes a great place!

For the past years, there has been high demand for places at St Agnes and waiting lists are in place. It is essential that any family wishing to enrol in 2021 submit the completed application form by 29th May 2020.

Lisa-Maree Browning


9 March - Staff Development Day (Pupil Free Day)

13 March - Mufti Day Fundraiser

18 March - Year 7 Camp

23 March - Year 12 Retreat, Interim Reports Distributed

9 April - Stations of the Cross Passion Play

10 April - Stations of the Cross - St Aidans Parish, Good Friday Walk,

10 April - 27 April - School Holidays begin

29 April - Year 7 Vaccination - First Dose

5 May - Year 11 2021 Information Night 5:30pm

12 May - NAPLAN

26 May - Year 11 - 12 Parent/Carer-Teacher Interviews

29 May - HSC Careers Expo

8 June - Queens Birthday (PUBLIC HOLIDAY)

From the Assistant Principal

At St Agnes, we encourage all students to do their best and then try to extend themselves. The following may help to achieve this goal.

  •  The first and most important factor in learning is to have regular attendance. Turning up on time every day gives students the best opportunity to learn. Every absence impacts on learning.
  • Be organised. Do they have all the equipment they need? Do they check their timetable each night and pack their bags ready for the next day. We all know how busy mornings can be for families
  • Set goals. Many young people have clear goals for their chosen sports but do not set academic goals. It is important to visualise what they want to achieve.
  • Read every day. Encourage your child to read for enjoyment every day. Ask them questions about what they like.
  • Have a routine. There needs to be time set aside each day for exercise, work and for play. This takes a little planning but once a routine is established it becomes much easier to get things done.
  • Get enough sleep. Ensure that they get plenty of sleep so that they are not tired the next day. There should be no electronic devices in bedrooms. This can be difficult to achieve for some families but the rewards are immense. Do not be afraid of enforcing rules around technology for their own benefit. Young people should not be connected 24/7.
  • Completing homework and assignments. To get done what they need to do, it is essential for students to apply themselves for well structured periods of time out of school time – home learning. The key is to spark in them a willingness to build these study sessions as everyday habits in their lives. They pursue their interests, hobbies and sport with enthusiasm; we need to encourage them to extend these attitudes to their learning.
  • Reward positive behaviours. We should encourage the behaviour we wish to see, not just punish the behaviour we do not want. Achieving small regular goals should be celebrated and rewarded. Young people can then see the relationship between regular effort and achievement. The aim is that eventually, they become self-managing.

 The school year has begun very well and we would like that to continue. Each day we have 850 students and 90 staff who need to make their way to and from St Agnes, safely and promptly. To assist with this we need to have a clear understanding of the rules that are in place to ensure there are no dangers to students, parents or staff.

  •  Students are not permitted to cross the road on front of the school (Evans Rd) unless they do so via the pedestrian crossing. Under no circumstances are students or parents permitted to walk in between parked buses. This is a major safety concern.
  •  Students catching buses of an afternoon are to move quickly to their bus line and sit down and wait to be called for their bus. If students are playing with footballs or basketballs during this time the balls will be confiscated.
  •  Parents dropping off or collecting students via car between 8 - 8.20am or 2.20 – 2.40pm will need to find a parking space outside the school grounds. There will generally be no free parking spots in the car park. Please do not drive into the car park during these times. We have a number of vehicles delivering goods to the school and we still have construction going on and so even one or two cars will cause congestion as they will not be able to turn around and then no one else can enter or leave the school. 

Mr Ken Wolffe

Assistant Principal

From the Head of Mission

Return to me with your whole heart (Joel 2:12)

The Season of Lent has begun, and St Agnes has marked this very important time in our liturgical calendar with Shrove Tuesday, a reminder of the Israelites who quickly packed their homes with only their essentials to escape hundreds of years of slavery towards the Promised Land led by Moses. This is symbolic of the way of life God calls us to live; simply.

 Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Church’s season of Lent. The marking of the Ashes on this day is a public expression of our faith and repentance. It is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through prayer we come closer to God so that we are better able to realise our baptismal promise to live justly as Jesus teaches us.

 Fasting joins us in solidarity with the poor who often have no choice but to go without basic essentials.

 Giving to the poor or ‘almsgiving’ is a sign of our commitment to justice and our thanks for all that God has given us.

 Life can get very busy, but with the wisdom and tradition of the church, we have been given 40 days for prayer, fasting and almsgiving, a time to focus on our faith and to strive to be holy. This is an opportunity to refocus our gaze on Jesus, and this period that begins today is called Lent.

 Lent is a special time when we stop and think about how we can play our part in God’s hope for a world that is fair, just and peaceful. We think about our relationship with God, and how serving others draws us closer to God. We also think about the changes we can make in our lives, to be God’s love and mercy in our world, ensuring all people have a just future.

 This year, Project Compassion  demonstrates how we can go further together to transform the lives of others. For more than 50 years, Caritas Australia has been privileged to work together with our neighbours – our most vulnerable sisters and brothers in First Australian communities and in many other countries. Working with our partner agencies in those communities, we have developed the strength to combat poverty, promote justice and uphold the dignity of every person. Throughout Project Compassion 2020, inspiring stories from the Philippines, Cambodia, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Malawi will be shared, highlighting the importance of working hand in hand with communities around the world. By donating to Project Compassion this year, you will be supporting Caritas’ efforts in assisting our global brothers and sisters. Let’s go further, together.

 May our Lenten journey be a time of reflection that draws us closer to Jesus and inspires us to live with compassion all year through.


Palm Sunday Peace Rally

The annual Palm Sunday Rally for Justice, Peace and Unity will take place at 2.00pm on Sunday 5 April at Belmore Park Sydney. Bishop Vincent Long is one of the speakers at the rally, along with Socceroo Craig Foster. 

There are still​ 400 refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. There are also over 1200 people from Nauru and Manus who have been transferred to Australia, many of whom remain in detention and denied the medical care they need. Refugees who currently live in the community receive little or no government support. Some face the prospect of homelessness.

As part of our Mission, we are called to 'go to the margins', remove barriers of division and address unfairness where it exists.​ 

In Christ,

Mrs Mary Reyes

Head of Mission

From the Head of Learning

Time is moving quickly for our Year 12 students. They need to ensure that suitable blocks of time are being spent on homework, assessment tasks and overall study (further information about this is outlined below). This will allow all students to be suitably prepared and ready for the demands of future assessment tasks, the Trial HSC (in August) and the actual HSC Examinations (in October).

The Year 11 group are well and truly into their studies, with most students applying themselves diligently. We had our Information Evening on 18th February, and I thank all the parents and students who came to the school for that event. Fortunately, Mr Murphy (Leader of Learning: Pathways Year 11) and I have caught up with the students who did not attend last week. All students are reminded to carefully check their Assessment Handbook which states when their assessments are due and also covers the essential procedures around submission of tasks. All students have been issued their first assessment task and MUST follow the correct procedures.

 Years 7 - 10 have received Assessment Handbooks from their Year Mentor via Google Classroom. It is important that each student acknowledges receipt of this and downloads a copy for themselves. The Handbook contains vital information about assessment tasks, assessment processes and who to contact if needed. This handbook has also been shared with parents via the SkoolBag App

 It is vital that our students in Year 10 look closely at their handbook, as this year marks the start of them working towards their first credential, that being the Record of School Achievement (RoSA). This is a cumulative record of achievement beginning with Year 10 and ending with the HSC in Year 12. At the end of Year 10, grades are submitted to the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). The allocation of these grades is based on student performance in the assessment tasks outlined in the assessment handbook and also, class work and application.

When students are issued with an assessment task, this is uploaded by the teachers onto their respective Google Classroom page AND SkoolBag App. All parents are encouraged to subscribe to the respective SkoolBag App year level so that they can discuss with their son/daughter upcoming assessment tasks. Even a simple question about when an assessment is due has proven to be most successful for student engagement.

 How Much Time Should You Spend on Schoolwork?

 In secondary school if you do not have any specific homework or assessments to work on, you are then expected to spend some time that night on independent learning. This is where you ask yourself, what else COULD I be doing that will help me understand my subjects better and improve my results? Examples of independent learning are: reading ahead in your textbook, making a mind map about what you have been learning, doing extra research on a topic that interests you, making study notes, reviewing work you find difficult… the list is endless.

 However, schools do not expect students to spend ALL of their time on schoolwork! We want you to play sport, see your friends, spend time with family, do activities you enjoy and have some rest and relax time as well. If you work effectively, then you can do your work for school, but still have a life! So given this, how much time are you expected to spend on schoolwork?

 It depends on your year level, your school, your parents and your own abilities and goals.  First, check your school diary or ask your teacher what is expected at your school. Then discuss these outlines with your parents and see if you can both agree what is right for you.

As a general rule, expected time to spend on schoolwork at home:

Year 7 and 8: In the first years of high school students usually do at least half an hour to an hour each day. In many schools it is around 1-1.5 hours on average or 7-10 hours of home learning over the whole week.

Year 9 and 10: In the middle years of high school it should be at least an hour. In many schools the average is around 1.5-2 hours or 10-14 hours of home learning over the whole week.

 Year 11 and 12: In the final years of high school students do at least 1.5-2 hours a day and this will increase as students approach the end of their schooling. Most Year 11 students do 2-3 hours per day (14-21 hours over the whole week) and in Year 12 around 3-4 hours (21-28 hours over the whole week).

Remember this is just a guide.

 What about the weekend? The amount of time a student needs to spend on schoolwork on the weekend will depend on their current workload and how much work they complete during the week.

 You also need to ensure you are getting enough sleep.

 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 G. Kemmis

Head of Learning


School Activities


Last December, five members of our school community travelled with over 100 delegates from schools and parishes from Parramatta diocese. Here are the reflections shared by our students at our Opening School Mass. 


During December Sianne, Kyra, Ms Raad, Mr Sadsad and I travelled to Perth for ACYF known as the Australian Catholic Youth Festival. We attended this festival for 3 days alongside over 5,000 other pilgrims from all over Australia. We followed a specific theme ‘Listen to what the spirit is saying’. This was a reference we always referred to when in testimonies, workshops and just as an overall thought when we were in a deep conversation with someone. Once you got into the festival you really started to connect and feel the real meaning of things. 


ACYF, can I go back? This spiritual experience has been a privilege of mine and I thank the school for this opportunity. Memories have been created and it feels like yesterday I got to attend workshops and learn. ACYF gave me the authority to learn and grow a stronger relationship with God. It allowed me to go through my faith journey with people that wanted to do the same, discover their faith. “ Listen to what the spirit is saying”. This was the theme ACYF wanted us to focus on. The teaching that was taught in one of the workshops has changed my views on society and my morals and values. I have learnt the importance of relationships and how there is time for everything; that not everything will go as planned, but there will still be a better and life-changing opportunity open for me in the future. Prayer to me before ACYF was boring, but it is now viewed as the most effective and beautiful way to communicate with God. Keeping God in the centre of what we're doing helps us to make sure we make the decisions that a catholic would. Thank you 


In December I was able to attend the Australian Catholic Youth Festival in Perth and I am so grateful for this experience . On the 3 day trip I was able to get closer with my faith and God. I learnt many lessons that I will carry out forever, made friends made memories, and experienced new things that have changed many perspectives of my life and faith. One of these experiences that stuck out were the adorations during plenary, it was my first ever adoration. I was unsure of what was to come, and as soon as it started the room got silent, the lights dim and my heart felt full and I felt safe and close to God, and at that moment it made me realise that God can take form in anything and will be anywhere as long as you can be silent and you can listen to him and he will speak to you through the Holy Spirit, and guide you through all you need. As we enter this new school year we must understand the importance of listening to the Holy Spirit and what it wants us to do and to be close to our faith and take the time to talk to the Lord through simple prayers whenever we can and whenever we need to, and to listen to what the spirit is saying.

 ACYF Prayer

 Holy Spirit, Breath of God, you come to us in the stillness and silence of this Great Southern Land. Give us the courage to open our hearts and ears, to listen to your voice as we seek to foster the growth of your Church in Australia.

Grant us the desire to know Jesus and say our ‘Yes’ to his invitation to spread the joy of the Gospel.

We ask for the gift of hope as you guide us in our search for purpose and meaning in our lives.

We pray together as young people that we may love and care for all of creation.

We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, our brother and our companion, who lives with You and the Father forever and ever.


HSIE Report

Since the beginning of the school year there has been some great evidence of quality learning being completed within HSIE classes.

 In Year 7 History students have been looking at the role of archaeologists, source analysis and studying the discovery of the ancient iceman, Otzi. Students have been learning how to analyse sources thoroughly and have been using this skill to draw conclusions on how Otzi lived and died 5000 years ago.

 In Year 8, students have been studying Medieval Europe, examining the make up of society and the roles of groups within the Feudal System. Having the males in the class create rules, and then having the females in class return the favour by creating their own rules, sure brought some valuable discussions about patriarchal societies of the past. This task also encouraged students to consider how our society is structured today. Students are also looking at the different roles and living styles of peasants and knights during Medieval Europe.

In Year 9, students have been looking at the Movements of Peoples, the impact of the Industrial Revolution, movement of slavery and convicts. This involves looking at the reasons for sending convicts and free settlers to Australia and the impacts of such a decision. Students are also beginning to study the transport of slaves around the world and the horrific conditions experienced by these slaves.

In Year 10, students have been looking at Rights and Freedoms, focusing on understanding the past of Aboriginal communities. Below are some examples of digital posters from 10.1 focussing on an Institution from the Stolen Generations.       

 Mr Chris Azzopardi

HSIE Coordinator


Information Session Feedback

Thank you to the families who recently provided feedback to assist in future planning. The results showed that Monday, 5:30pm was the preferred time for events after school.

Parents of Year 10 and 11 students

Supervising Learner Drivers workshops for 2020

There will be two sessions available; one in Blacktown and one in Mount Druitt.  Parents and carers are welcome to attend whichever session is most convenient for them.  The workshop is about the supervisors role in helping their learner driver become safer driver.   Each session covers information about using the log book (electronic or paper versions), the importance of the 120 hours of supervised practice, options for legally reducing the hours of supervision as well as tips and suggestions for making the process easier for both the supervisor and the learner.

6.30-8.30pm Monday 9 March - Mt Druitt, Wednesday 11 March - Blacktown

Register now

Parent Retreat Day Flyer

Homework Club

St Agnes Catholic High School runs a Homework Club on Tuesday afternoons.  Homework Club is a great opportunity for students to receive help with homework and/or assessments on a one on one basis.

Homework club starts at 2:30pm and concludes at 3:30pm.

Students can choose to attend regularly or on selected afternoons, depending on their circumstances.

All students are expected to bring appropriate work to complete. This is a great opportunity for students to get into the habit of doing their homework straight after school, whilst also being able to have their teachers feedback on assignments.

School Fees

School Fee statements for Term 1 have been posted from the Catholic Education Department, Parramatta (CEDP) in the third or last week of February.

This mailing will include Flexible Payment Plan Options. In previous years these have been very popular. (Payments are scheduled between March and November).

For families making full payment for Term 1 the due date is 18 March, 2020.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, please contact the Business Manager, Kelly Pickett, immediately on 8882 0702, or email  

If you do not receive your statement or have other questions, please contact Lorraine Bailey on 8882 0706 or email

school travel

If students need to update their information or re-apply, they should go online to


If students do not have an OPAL Card, the full fare must be paid.

Please ensure students TAP ON & TAP OFF. 

The School Bus Service is on demand from how many students TAP ON. So if you do not TAP ON, this will tell the bus company we no longer need the service and they will cut the number of buses that pick students up. Stranding our students.

Please remember to TAP ON & TAP OFF.


St Agnes uses Skoolbag to notify parents and students of important information regularly.

Make sure you have notification settings for Skoolbag, and you have joined your Year Group as we will often only send notifications to a 'Year Group'.

Students will find Assessments uploaded in the Year Group and parents can be aware of due dates for students on these Assessment overviews.

From the Bishops Office

Gift of Ageing 6-Day Retreat: 6 – 12 March

St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre, Douglas Park, NSW, is hosting a six day retreat on the ‘Gift of Ageing: Awakening to God’s Surprising Gifts’ from 6 to 12 March. Sr Kerin Caldwell sgs will lead participants in themes such as less doing and more being and how am I coping with change. $750 for 6 days or $250 for weekend of 6 to 8 March. To RSVP, please contact (02) 4630 0233, email or visit

Mindfulness and the Presence of God Retreat: 13 – 15 March

St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre, Douglas Park, NSW, is hosting a weekend retreat on ‘Mindfulness and the Presence of God’ on 13 to 15 March. Presenters Michelle Vass and Lou Nulley will discuss being mindful in the Christian Tradition, mindfulness practices and mindfulness meditation. Registration is $250. To RSVP, please contact (02) 4630 0233, email or visit

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians Retreat: 20 – 26 March

St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre, Douglas Park, NSW, is hosting a six-day retreat on St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians from 20 to 26 March. Fr Michael Fallon msc will lead retreatants through Paul’s life and what Jesus meant to Paul. A weekend option is available for 20 to 22 March. To RSVP, please contact (02) 4630 0233, email or visit

Men’s Prayer Weekend Retreat: 27 – 29 March

St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre, Douglas Park, NSW, is hosting a men’s prayer weekend from 27 to 29 March. Paul White and Fr Thang Nguyen msc will reflect on scripture and modern writers regarding the interaction between trust and discernment in times of transition in our lives. To RSVP, please contact (02) 4630 0233, email or visit

A Weekend of Poetry and Religion: 17 – 19 April

Fr Dom Carrigan CSsR invites retreatants to bring their religious poems to share with others, in the spirit of Les Murray’s poem ‘Poetry and Religion’. St Clement’s Retreat Centre, Kalangan Rd, Galong, NSW, from 17 to 19 April. Ensuite room $300, room with shared facilities $260. For enquiries and bookings, please contact

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Marriage Enrichment Weekend: 17 – 19 April

The Worldwide Marriage Encounter are hosting a Marriage Enrichment Weekend from 17 to 19 April at the Mt Carmel Retreat Centre, Varroville, NSW. Take the time to step back from everyday distractions and rediscover your relationship. Book online at or contact Adrian and Janet on 0490 774 419 or

National Pastoral Ministry Conference: 9 – 11 July

Save the date for the National Pastoral Ministry Conference, titled ‘Alive in the Spirit: Being the Community Christ calls us to be’. The conference will be held on 9 to 11 July 2020 at St Mary, Star of the Sea College, Wollongong. More information to come. For more information, please contact Lisa Bright on 0448 652 720 or

Catholic Mission Camino 2020 Pilgrimages

Catholic Mission is organising two pilgrimages to walk the Camino Portugués (17 days) from 11 to 27 May 2020 and the Camino Francés (16 days) from 19 September to 5 October. Each pilgrimage will offer small groups lead by an experience guide. For more information, please contact Sr Veronica Rosier OP on 0451 387 906 or visit

Australian Commemoration of the Sunday of the Word of God

The Bishops Commission for Liturgy is considering how the Church in Australia will mark the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God, established by Pope Francis and held on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. This celebration is held in Rome during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is celebrated much later in the year in Australia. The Commission has proposed another date be established for the Sunday of the Word of God in Australia, and will provide recommendations to the Bishops Conference in May.

Country Care Link Volunteers Needed

Open Support, a not-for profit, community service organisation is in need of volunteer drivers for their Country Care Link program, which is a transport service for regional NSW families, couples and individuals when in Sydney for medical appointments and hospital stays. For more information or to receive a volunteer information pack, please email, call (02) 8382 6437 or visit


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