Santa Sophia Catholic College Newsletter

July Newsletter - Term 2, Week 10 2020

Welcome Address by Mark De Vries

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Personal Interest Project Journalism Project

By Mrs Kihi

The Term 2 Santa Sophia Journalist PIP group have successfully produced a professional magazine that has demonstrated their capacity to be real life journalists.

Each week, students were encouraged to research a topic of interest that would spark a piece for them to compose. It was amazing to see the students become real life journalists throughout the course of the project.

Students worked together to brainstorm topics of interest and also learnt how to become experts in writing news reports, feature articles, reviews, interview articles, and entertainment pieces. Each student who was in the Journalism PIP group has contributed an article (or two) for this magazine.

The articles in the magazine ranged from news reports on current events such as the return from school after COVID, as well as Mr De Vries' involvement at the Sod Turning Ceremony. Students also included opinion pieces on Tik Tok, celebrities, sport, gaming, and reviews on books and films.

This magazine is a culmination of all their hard work. Our students have certainly done a wonderful job putting everything together.

English Update

English Newsletter Article

Term 2 has been quite a term in English! Our students adapted wonderfully to the changes to their learning in the subject, completing half the English projects partially in a remote setting. All of our students should be congratulated on the way that they embraced change in their studies.

Stage 4 English

A lot of persuasive fun was occurring in Stage 4 English this term as the students engaged in the topic, ‘The Power of Persuasion.’ This project required students to work in groups to prepare a marketing campaign that consisted of a number of persuasive texts composed by the students. Students first developed a ‘useless product’ that they needed to market to a targeted audience. Students worked individually to create a print advertisement, and then in groups to create a radio and television advertisement. Students worked extremely well in this project and all groups were able to utilise their knowledge of persuasive techniques used by composers by creating their own persuasive texts.

Stage 5 English

Students in Stage 5, Year 9, delved into the dark and intriguing world of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Term 2. For many of our students, this was their first experience of a Shakespearean text. Our Year 9 students worked extremely well in their exploration of the themes and ideas of Macbeth, and really developed a deep understanding of the tragedy that unfolded. Students explored the play and engaged in analysis of the text, with a specific focus on exploring how the universal themes and ideas continue to be relevant to a modern day audience. 

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition

Thank you to the students who have submitted their poetry for the 2020 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition. We wish our poets the very best of luck in the competition.

Our poets are:

Eliza Scwebel

Darcy Zarah

Georgia Scott

Good luck girls! We can’t wait to find out the results!

General Announcements

  • All secondary students will be studying a novel in Term 3. Students were informed early in Term 2 of what novel they should purchase. Thank you to parents who have already organised this. Please ensure that your child has their novel by the end of Term 2 so that your child can read it over the school holidays.

  • The Storyfest National Novella Writing Competition opens on the 27th July 2020. This writing competition is open to all Australian high school students. Students who are interested in creative writing and would like to write a novella are encouraged to enter. There are great prizes on offer. For more information, please visit the or see one of the English teachers. Entries close on the 4th December.

Primary Update: Term 2 2020

The Primary students have been back into the full swing of learning at school! 

During Writing, Kindergarten students have been focusing on writing descriptions and using adjectives in their writing. One morning when the children arrived at school, they saw a mysterious package all tied up with string on the chair. What could it be?

Every time the children used a ‘wow’ word (an adjective) in their writing, they could cut a piece of string. Finally, after two weeks of reflecting on their writing, Kindergarten finally got to open the package. It was a bright pink, fluffy llama! What a fun way to encourage the use of ‘wow’ words.

Moving into Term 3, the students will be bringing their new skills of reflecting on their writing and explaining how they can challenge themselves to add more detail. 

During Investigations Kindergarten students have continued to inquire into how we share family stories. A highlight has been when the children got to add their family pages to our own ‘I’m  Australian Too’ family book - the children had so much fun making such creative pages at home!

The children also got to look through cookbooks and ask questions about the different foods people eat around the world. We had our own little party where the children got to make these foods with play-doh. Our own little celebration!

We also explored the different places we live and belong to, with the children showing a special interest in flags. The children are so excited to be bringing home their special ‘family bag’ which lets them share their family stories with others! 

Year One has been investigating life in the past by looking at how technology, schools and toys have developed overtime. They have explored and played with various toys and equipment such as the typewriter, games such as ‘Tip-it’, old story books and a phone with a rotary dial. They were able to consolidate their learning through discussions and sorting activities to reflect on the differences and similarities of the past and the present.

In Mathematics, they have been learning different strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems. They have come up with their own maths stories and have been exploring the different ways they could show their thinking. The students have been learning how to monitor their learning through looking at anchor charts and freely using relevant resources around the classroom that might help them complete their set tasks. This has also been evident as they have been writing persuasive texts.

Currently, they are writing about why they would be the best principal. Sebastian says that he would be the best principal because “he would help students who are having a bad day by playing calm music whilst talking to them about their day.” Harrison wrote that he would be able to build students up by “giving them awards and stickers whenever they show great learning.”

We look forward to sharing with you our continued learning next term.

Religious Education Update

By Mr Michael Pastoors

Year 7 and 8 students have been learning about truth as a part of the new draft Religious Education curriculum. Part of the students' transfer task is to apply their understanding of key content from previous lessons, and integrate it into a board or card game, which is centred on seeking the truth.

To help get a clearer picture of what makes a game engaging and have a purpose; students played and evaluated various board and card games in their groups. This ranged from modern card and board games to some more traditional games e.g. monopoly, uno, the game of life and jumanji; of course some of the staff joined in on the fun too.

Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 have been learning about the Feast of Corpus Christi and more recently about the plight and Church's position on the treatment of refugees.

Students have reflected on Bible passages, YouTube videos (mainly by Catholic Central) and Church teachings in homeroom throughout the term to help them gain a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church and the schools' role in its mission. 

Staff were recently blessed with the opportunity to meet with Our Lady of the Angel's new Parish Priest and we had the pleasure of sharing the day with him at our recent Staff spirituality day. Fr Carlos set aside time to deliver a talk and help our staff see his vision and mission for the Our Lady of Angel's Parish and its associated schools. 

Year 7 Religious Education: board game task

Music Update

by the Music team

Year 7 Music

Year 7 music students have recently completed their songwriting project. Students wrote original lyrics following an end word rhyme scheme.

They then selected a backing track and worked out a tune or a spoken rap that fitted the backing track.

Lastly, they recorded their song using GarageBand, created album art and uploaded their work to their Digital Portfolios. 

We encourage parents to ask their children to show you their work. It was delightful to read some well crafted lyrics and hear students create their own song. Well done Year 7!

Year 9 Music

The Year 9 music students were very glad to be back in the classroom and they were at last able to use the Ableton Push devices. Ableton Live is the software and Ableton Push is the Hardware. We are one of the very few schools in the Diocese using Ableton Live and Push.

The Year 9 music class have been using Ableton Live and Push for the film soundtrack project. Here is Eli working on his composition.

The 4 Phils are helping to teach us about orchestrating and arranging for string quartet.

Next term, they will be starting to use their composition and arranging skills to compose and produce the school song.

String Ensemble

String Ensemble are also very glad to be back in rehearsals on Friday afternoon. They are working at increasing our skills, hopefully leading their experienced players into the new level 2 String Things Books and iBooks which Mr Rooke hopes to publish by start of Term 3. Our strings program is based on the String Things program, also known as the Flipped Strings Method.

This term, we have been learning a new piece – Rigadoon by Henry Purcell. Here is the conductors score of the finished piece. This is how we hope to sound for the concert in Term 4.

The Kenyan Connection

Last term, the Year 9 music class recorded a backing track to support our sister school, The Brightshiners Junior School in Nairobi, Kenya. The children there learned to sing “This Little Light of Mine” and the backing track was recorded by our own Year 9 elective music class.

In Term 3, we will be working together to produce a collaborative video with St Luke’s Catholic College, Chisholm Catholic Primary School and Brightshiners Junior School in Nairobi of “Wimoweh” of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. This will involve our Year 9 class again, but also the string ensemble, vocal ensemble and hopefully our lovely creative children in Kindergarten and Year 1.

It is a great opportunity for us to support these students in Africa by making music together. As our own Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen says: “Let’s then especially never forget we must be on the ‘look out’ for the marginalised and those on the edges so that our young people are taught to value what really matters”

What better way to action Bishop Vincent’s words than to learn together and make music together.

There is much to look forward to in music making and creation at Santa Sophia Catholic College and it is best when we make music together.

Save the date: Term 3 PEN with Dr Justin Coulson

Date and Time

From Thursday, September. 17th, 6:30 pm to Thursday, September. 17th, 8:30 pm


160 Perfection Avenue, Stanhope Gardens NSW, AustraliaGet Directions


Please save the date for our Term 3 Parent Education Network event with Dr Justin Coulson!

More details will be sent out early in Term 3. 

Wellbeing Update

by Mrs Anoushka Houseman

New Students

A special welcome to all of our new students who have commenced at various times since the beginning of the year. It can be quite challenging beginning a new school mid semester but COVID-19 restrictions has certainly made the process more challenging.

It has been wonderful to welcome all these students to our school community and to see them growing in confidence day by day. 

Group Programs

We continue to work with some of our secondary students around social skills development as well as managing anxiety and stress. We have identified the need to commence another anxiety group next term to ensure our students learn effective strategies to cope with anxiety. 

Positive Behaviour Support for Learning - PBS4L

We have been targeting school classroom entry expectations of students at the beginning of each class in every session in the secondary school over the last few weeks as there are a number of transitions between classes and we want to ensure minimal loss of learning time during these transitions. The students were first reminded about these expectations when we returned from Remote Learning and signs have been posted around the learning spaces with reminders of what to do. The students also watched a fun video where teachers first demonstrated the wrong ways to do it and then Year 9 students demonstrated the appropriate way to do it. We then commenced a fun competition where each class group is scored on whether they have followed the 5 steps of the procedure well (1. Unpack equipment required from their bag; 2. Place their bag in the designated area along the wall; 3. Stand quietly in two lines; 4. Walk into the classroom when directed by the teacher and stand behind a chair to pray the College prayer together; 5. Quietly sit and commence work as instructed by the teacher).

Each class is given a score between 0 and 5 depending on how they have followed the procedure. The class that has the most points on the live spreadsheet at the end of the designated time period won a pizza lunch!

Year 7 Navy achieved this honour for Round 1 after the initial 2 week period. We have decided to continue this intervention till the end of the term with another pizza lunch party on offer. This time Year 9 were the winners!

The plan with PBS4L is to have a whole school focus on a particular area each fortnight (or thereabouts) that is guided by the behaviour data we collect to indicate the areas of need. So keep an eye out for these PBS4L initiatives throughout the year as we strive to constantly improve our school in all aspects.


Now that we are back at school full time, we want to promote the importance of students attending school every day and on time to get the most out of their education both academically and socially. Research shows us that school attendance plays a critical role in enhancing the lives of students in schools. Every day of attendance adds to a student's achievement and success at school. Schools in partnership with parents are responsible for promoting the regular attendance of students.

Of course, if a student is unwell, it is of course advisable for them to stay at home until they are well enough to return.

But it is important to be aware that if a student misses as little as eight days each term, by the end of primary school they will have missed over a year of learning compared to their peers. So we want to ensure that we stay vigilant and provide the appropriate support to help any students and parents that need it if attendance is becoming an issue.

Student News: Ruby Jacobs

Ruby Jacobs began riding horses at the age of 11. In the few short years since then she has learnt to undertake high jumps and came first place in an Equestrian competition. She tries to ride as much as she can and hopes to eventually have her own horse and enter more showjumping competitions. Well done Ruby!

Student News: Ashton Hawkett

By Ashton Hawkett on his journey to signing with Sydney FC U13s

Growing up in my household I have always been surrounded by sports. Both my parents played sports at high level and it is something that they passed down to me. Ever since I could walk, I had a ball at my feet and was either kicking and chasing it or dribbling around the house. I fell in love with football at a very young age and like a lot of players my dream was to be a professional footballer. 

I started playing when I was under 5’s and because there was no under 5’s team at my club I played up in the under 6’s. This was great as it meant I had to work very hard to be able to match it with the older kids. Ever since then I have always played up an age level, to challenge myself and push myself.

When I was playing in the under 8’s as a 7 year old, one game I scored 6 goals and assisted 2 others when we won 8-1. My parents received an email from a Blacktown Spartans scout who asked me to join their academy. During the academy I was signed to Blacktown Spartans SAP and I played there from Under 9’s to Under 12’s and still playing up an age level all through that time.

During this time I was fortunate enough to be selected for the under 10’s, under 11’s and under 12’s Australian Futsal team. I also had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona and Valencia to train and play against some of the Spanish Academies such as Valencia and Villareal.

In 2020, it was my fifth year at Blacktown and I felt a bit down and stale. 2021 was a huge year as I would start youth league so it was crucial I had a big 2020 to give myself any possible chance to join a big club. The club I was aiming to get signed to was my favourite A-League team Sydney FC. So I decided to leave Blacktown and trial for a well known Academy known as Futboltec run by ex A-League players. It was during this transition where I worked harder than I ever did before and pushed myself to continue to improve and to earn my spot in the squad. After training a few Sunday nights at the Sydney Academy my mum got a message from the technical director of Sydney FC Youth League who asked me to join a bunch of players who have been shortlisted to join their youth team in 2021. After one session it was unfortunate that the Covid outbreak stopped all training. However, we were given online programs by both Sydney and Futboltec which I made sure I always completed at a high level and sent in videos to my coaches. 

I then had a personal interview with the technical director of Sydney, as a way of him trying to get to know each player. It isn’t just about your football ability but also about you as a person and your family. He also asked to check my school reports to see if I was a good student and demonstrated the same work ethic in school as football. A few weeks later, my Dad received a phone call from the technical director of Sydney FC who offered me a position with the Sydney FC Under 13’s for 2021. When my Dad told me I didn't even believe him. But I was very excited and happy as I have put so much time, sweat, energy and commitment into making this goal of mine a reality. 

To be able to accomplish these goals I have had to sacrifice a lot of things. Some weeks I train for 5 days and also have to manage the demands of school and home exercise programs. This means a lot of my weekends can be spent training. I have had to miss friends and families parties or gatherings or can’t go to fun places sometimes when others are going. However in order to be successful this is what you need to do to make your dreams come true. I need to be strict with my diet and my exercise and make sure they are done properly and on the days they are scheduled so my body stays fit and healthy to compete at a high level which again can be hard to do. But all these sacrifices I want to make because I know what it takes to make it as a professional and I’m trying to give myself every chance, so in the future I can be running out as a first team player for not only Sydney FC but for Australia. I have had some great times and some hard times but I never take my eyes off my dream. I am determined to make my dream a reality and won’t stop until I achieve it. 

Well done Ashton!


Dates for your Diary:

Due to Covid-19 many of our school events and activities have had to be postponed until further notice. 

Monday 20th July:

- Optional Student led conferences (Pupil free day)

Tuesday 21st July:

- Term 3 classes commence

Sunday 6th September:

- Father's Day

Thursday 17th September:

- Santa Sophia Feast Day

- PEN Night with Dr Justin Coulson

Friday 25th September:

- Last day of Term 3