St John Paul II Catholic College Newsletter

Term 4 - 2020


Dear Parents/Carers and Students,

This is the last newsletter for 2020 and as we all know it has been a challenging and a different 11 months of learning and teaching due to COVID-19. During the year, we have had to create varied and different events which still showed what a great community we have here at St John Paul II Catholic College.

Being a Catholic College, students and staff in smaller numbers did have the opportunity, on several occasions, to attend mass and liturgies to represent their College and year groups.

Learning at StJPIICC

As we wait upon receiving the HSC results on 18 December, St John Paul II Catholic College’s performance in our internal assessment has shown for most students, an increased learning gain. All Year 10 students who are required, have achieved the national minimum standard average requirements of reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy.

Student Attendance

Congratulations to all students and parents/carers for working together in 2020 as we have improved our overall student attendance rate by 18%. This 18% is the increase from 2019 of students who attended school for more than 9 days out 10 per fortnight. St John Paul II Catholic College has a higher student attendance than most secondary schools in the Diocese of Parramatta.

Congratulations to Year 12

After the HSC Examinations, we had a final farewell to Year 12 as they celebrated their Graduation Mass, Ceremony and Formal. These much-anticipated events for the students and the parents/carers who were able to attend, this year more than other years, had an enjoyable time together. The Year 12 students are to be congratulated on the consistent application they have made to their studies throughout the year and during the examination period, while coping with the restrictions of COVID-19. We wish Year 12 students all the very best as they move into a new phase of their lives.


Schools and teachers know that good communication with parents/carers and students is important as it helps us all learn and succeed. The parents/carers and students’ responses in the Tell Them From Me Survey responses this year. has shown the implementation of Compass has improved the home school partnership with more timely and relevant communication. Further implementation of the different modules with Compass will occur in 2021.

At the College we also recognise that email is a fast and convenient way to communicate with your child’s teacher. As you could appreciate, teachers read their emails at various times throughout the school day. Further, that other than in the case of a genuine emergency, they are generally not expected to respond to emails from parents/carers and students outside of normal working hours. Please keep in mind that if you send an email to a member of our staff outside of normal working hours, a reply may not be received until the following working day.

If you wish to contact your child’s teacher, please continue to direct your emails to the teacher which will be replied to as per usual practice. We appreciate your assistance and understanding. If you have any questions about this matter, please feel free to contact me at the College.

Communication between parents/carers, teachers and students is crucial to ensuring a student’s education and wellbeing is at its best. In response to the ever-increasing digital communications via social media, we will continue to embrace these technologies in a positive and productive manner. Currently we use Compass, College website, Facebook, intranet, SMS and email as the information is provided closer to the date of the event.

The use of Zoom for the parents/carers/student/teacher interviews has also resulted in a higher number of interviews being completed in comparison to being required to attend on site.

Staff Update

This year we also say farewell to the following permanent staff who are taking up positions at other schools as part of their professional development or moving to another location interstate. Ludi Bothma, Shane Blanksby, Kaytee Johnstone, Mark Kalwy, Alana Robertson, Maria Starick and Lee-Ann Kervin.

Alicia Shaw who was seconded this year as the Religious Education Coordinator to Marian College, Kenthurst has now accepted their permanent position and leaves St JPII after 11 years at our College.

The following staff who have been on temporary contract are also finishing with us at the end of the year: Sarah Azzopardi, Breanna Fitzpatrick, Anastasia Modderno, Kaelih Peaty and Sean Turner.

We welcome the following staff to St John Paul II Catholic College in 2021: Brittany Azzopardi (English/HSIE/RE), Ellen Celima (English/HSIE/RE), Olivia Cochrane (TAS/Science), Danial Conway (Assistant Leader of English), Jessica Gibbs (English), Rebecca Johnson (Teacher Librarian/English), Terri Lennard (Dance/VET Entertainment/Music), Natasha Prudnicki (English), Caitlin Refalo (Mathematics) and Kirsten Webster (TAS).

We also have staff returning from leave, Jessica Idone, Lisa-Maree Madigan and Amanda Saunders who will be working Part Time in 2021. Chris Wilson will be on long service leave until Term 4, Week 3.

Thank you to our community members.

I would also like to congratulate our staff, students and parents/carers who have coped with an extraordinary year in their learning. I certainly believe it has made us rethink how we do our work, how we teach and how we learn in the future. I wish everyone a safe, happy and above all holy Christmas and we all pray for a COVID – 19 Vaccine to be found in 2021. In 2021 we celebrate our 25th Anniversary of the college. (TSC/St JPII CC – 1996 to 2021)



The word ‘Advent’ means ‘coming’. Lighting the candles on the wreath symbolises the coming of light (Jesus) into the world. The first candle (violet) represents hope, the second (violet) peace, the third (rose) joy, and the fourth (violet) love. The central white candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Christ. 

The season of Advent lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. At that time, the new Christian year begins with the twelve-day celebration of Christmastide, which lasts from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. Advent begins on Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year)  Advent 2020 begins on Sunday, November 29th, and ends on Thursday, December 24.

“The season of Advent, which we begin again on the 29 November, restores this horizon of hope, a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s Word. A hope which does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful! He does not disappoint! Let us think about and feel this beauty.”

Pope Francis Saint Peter's Square, 1st Sunday of Advent, 1 December 2013 

God of Hope,

You call us to be hope-filled people and to open up a horizon of hope to all. Help us to open our hearts to others this Advent season and to recognise the gift of hope you have given us. Give us the wisdom and courage to bring the warmth of hope to those who need it most.

We ask this in your name.



From the Assistant Principals

My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior!” Lk 1:46-47

A happy and holy advent to all. The song of Mary reflects the jubilance of Christians throughout the world at this time of Advent or waiting. Each Christmas, Christians re-live the joy of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and the blessings his birth bestows on all humanity. May each of you be blessed with the blessings of Christ.

Wow! Who would have thought when we started this year that by the time we reached the end of Term 4 we would have lived through a worldwide pandemic (still living through); had managed remote learning, social distancing, a toilet paper crisis and retail shut down? What we have endured together this year is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Click here to important information regarding important events in the school and travel information


Creative & Performing Arts

This year was a little different for our Year 12 Creative Arts students, with interruptions to face-to-face teaching and last-minute changes to their performances and major works. Our students persevered and created some beautiful works which we would usually showcase at an HSC Major Works Night, unfortunately we were unable to do that this year. We would still love to share these works with you!

Watch full videos here:

Congratulations again to our Year 12 students

Learning Enrichment

Robotics Club 

How did such an engaging learning enrichment program come about at STPJII? In 2019, a group of striving Year 7 – Year 11 St John Paul II women, were asked to participate in a day filled with creative clubs and ideas that they may like to implement into their school curriculum. They attended the Girls Tech Day 'Inspiring Future Builders' which was held at Blacktown Workers Club. The event was sponsored by Amazon Web Services.. It came as a surprise when teachers noticed that these leadership-like women were so intrigued by the stall which contained computers and robots. These individuals showed excitement, enthusiasm and a great deal of interest into this club and were curious as to how such an awesome enrichment program could be managed on school grounds. It was here that we met the myRobo company and began our discussions for a robotics project - which is now the Robotics Club.

 Teachers communicated with this Robotics group and managed to make this happen! With over 60 people showing interest in this club, this was exciting to both the company and the staff. Due to COVID-19, half of these people were unable to be involved in this club, whereas the other half were determined and dedicated to make this happen and participate in such an incredible experience and fortunately, they have been loving every minute of it!

Read here for more informatoin

Creative Arts Showcase

Be on the lookout for our 2020 Creative Arts showcase! We would love to have invited you to watch our live performances and attend our exhibitions but we can offer you the next best thing.. we can bring the performances to you! Our Creative Art Students are working tirelessly; rehearsing, recording and editing our Creative Arts Showcase. Links will be provided on our College social media outlets.

Year 10 Drama

Year 10 Drama students recently completed a unit of work and assessment on Comedia dell'arte. Comedia is a traditional Italian theatrical form that incorporates music, dance, witty dialogue, and all kinds of trickery for comic effects. Students were required to create a performance incorporating specific stock characters as well as make the relevant character mask.

Students spent weeks working on their original plaster mask and transforming them into functional and accurate theatre masks.

Year 10 Drama

Semester 2 Awards Ceremony

The end of the school year is exciting. It demands that we stop and reflect and that we acknowledge those students in our community who have excelled.

The Semester 2 Award Ceremony for each stage recognises students in the following categories: -

  • Rise Up Merit Awards
  • St John Paul II Award for Effort, Consistency and Integrity
  • Academic Awards
  • Special Awards 
    • The St John Paul II Service Award
    • Excellence in Creative and Performing Arts
    • Excellence in Public Speaking and Debating Award
    • Living Out the College Ethos - Fr Eugene Stockton Award
    • Principal's Award

Well done to all of these students whose hard work and commitment have paid off!

Stage 4 Award Recipients

Stage 5 Award Recipients

Year 11 Award Recipients

Career Advisor's Report

The year that was for our 2020 Career Highlights. This report consists of information and congratulations regarding the WSU Graduate program graduates, robotics club, YES program, connecting with different agencies, step up into teaching and early offers. 

Click here to read through some of the accomplishments the students of St John Paul II Catholic College have achieved during this year. 

A message from our School Leaders - SRC


“Let God be your light in your darkest times, and remember that you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.” This was the slogan that the Year 9 Student Representative Council proposed during the Social Justice Launch Day, occurring on October 15th, 2020.

The Year 9 SRC were given the opportunity to collaborate with other schools from the Parramatta Diocese in order to discuss the importance of mental health and other social justice issues within Australia.  The event was titled,  “To Live Life To The Full”. As a result, there were many new ideas that were formulated as to how we - as a community - can raise further awareness of these issues and act upon them to live out God’s Truth and emulate Christ.

A message from SRC representatives stages 4, 5 and 6:

We would like to thank everyone for supporting our neighbours and participating in the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Hamper appeal. Thank you for your compassion and generosity. Together as a School Community we can stand together in solidarity to live out God's truth and be the hands of Christ to enhance the dignity of all, especially this Christmas.

Year 9 Social Justice Day Launch

SRC Representatives

ICT Report

This term has been a busy term for the ICT Team with the exit events occurring for Year 12, PATR and PATM taking place for Year 7 to 9 students, as well as maintaining the ICT environment to support the teaching and learning at the College.

We have hosted a number of work-placement students that have worked in the ICT team this term as a component of their Information and Digital Technology course.

It is great to see a significant increase in the number of parents and caregivers utilising “Compass” to monitor students' achievements and actively engage in their child’s learning. We have been fielding questions in relation to purchase requirements for students for Year 7 and 9 next year. For advice please visit the visit the following link:

Moving forward for the remainder of the term, we have all the students in Year 10 completing “All My Own Work” which is a mandatory NESA for senior students. We will also be organising acceptable ICT use contracts and preparing processes and documentation for a smooth transition into 2021. 


Key Dates


Uniform Shop

The last day of 2020 trading for the Uniform Shop will be Thursday 10th December 2020. The shop will re-open for trading on Thursday 21st January 2020.

We would also like to take this opportunity to wish all our families a safe & holy Christmas period.

Wearing the correct uniform at STJPII

  1. Hoodies are not allowed under any circumstances, as per the student planner. All students are aware of this rule. Students who choose to wear a hoodie and do not remove it on request, will have the item confiscated.
  2. Winter Uniform: The College red jumper is to be worn under the blazer with the winter uniform, if required.
  3. Sport Uniform: The College red jumper can be worn under the sport jacket, if required.
  4. Students may wear a scarf for additional warmth. See Student Planner page 23.
  5. The College cap is the only option.
  6. Jewellery: as per the Student Planner page 21

Student Opal Card


A reminder that students are required to tap on and off with their Opal card or show their School bus pass when boarding.

We have suggested that students take a photo of the reverse side of their card (Showing student/card number) on their phones for the days they may forget their card. This can then be shown to drivers/Opal Card Inspectors to show a valid card exists.

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


A reminder to parents/carers - the drop off / pick up zone for our Schofields Campus is located next to the College at Rose Cottage and has a separate entry and exit driveway for your use.

NOTE:  As an alternative, you can also park in adjacent streets - Arilla Close which runs adjacent to the School and can be accessed via Beacon Drive or Brookfield Street, The Ponds which is directly opposite the College.  We remind our community that Cottage Glade (off Arilla Close) is a private residence and should not be used for drop off/pick up. Please refrain from driving through and parking inside this private residence.

Where possible, if pick up times could be staggered to assist with the congestion that has been occurring in light of an increase in parents/carers picking up their children due to COVID-19. 

Please refrain from parking across the marked crossings.

For the SAFETY of our students and COVID-19 restrictions, we ask parents/carers not to drive into the main entry of the College to pick up or drop off students.  We really appreciate your assistance in these matters.

Medical Action Plans & Medication

Student Medical Action Plans

Parent/Carers are reminded to send in an updated Medical Action Plan for students and these can be supplied by your GP.

Student Medication

A reminder that any PRESCRIBED MEDICATION needs to be accompanied by a letter from the prescribing doctor with dosage requirements.  This will be kept in the office for our staff to administer.

If you wish our office staff to administer any NON PRESCRIBED MEDICATION, it also MUST have a label from the pharmacy stating the student’s name, dosage requirements and a letter from a parent /carer authorising our staff to administer the medication.  The exception is reliever puffers for the emergency treatment of asthma.

Laptops & Mobile Phones

Student Devices

It is the expectation that every student brings a charged laptop to school everyday. Most subject areas use Google Classroom and email communication to connect with the students and their learning. 

Mobile phones

Students are not permitted to use mobile phones during normal class time. A mobile phone must be switched off during learning time. The use of social media is not permitted at STJPII. Could we ask that if a parent/carer needs to send a message to a student, that they call the school office so a message can be given to the student. At no time is a student permitted to film or take an image of another student or community member without specific permission. 

Assessment Handbooks

All  Assessment Handbooks are available online from the website OR  via the parent portal at COMPASS Community School Documentation


In the Pandemic: Youth and Mental Health

One of the big issues that has started to receive a lot of focus in response to Covid-19 has been the impact on mental health. The isolation of lockdown, the loss of jobs or hours worked, the uncertainty about family budgets, the disruption to schooling, and the loss of so many school and community events of every kind, has led to many people who usually cope, finding themselves struggling instead.

Already domestic and family violence is up, hours worked are down, and as government financial support tapers back to lower levels and debt holidays end, the pressure on some families is likely to increase further. 

Recently the Australian Catholic Bishops released their 2020 social justice statement, To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today. The Bishops invite us all to reject stigmatisation, to work for the transformation of social determinants of mental ill-health, and to call for policies and service provision that meets the needs of the poorest and most marginalised members of our Community. 

In the lead up to the 2018 Synod in Rome on young people, the Bishops surveyed over 15,000 young people who identified mental health, followed by school or study, drugs and alcohol, and body image as the main issues facing young people today.

Mission Australia’s survey of 15 to 19-year-olds this year found the top three personal concerns were coping with stress, mental health, and body image. Overall, four in 10 said they were stressed all of the time or most of the time.

The Productivity Commission’s November 2020 report finds that the cost of mental illness in Australia is about $220 billion per year – an extraordinary indicator of suffering and loss. 

What are the implications for schools? One of the report's priority reforms is to make the social and emotional development of school children of all ages a national priority.

The Commission recommends that the National School Reform Agreement, which sets out governments’ expectations for the education system, funding structures, and reporting requirements, should be updated to include student wellbeing as one of its outcomes. 

This would place wellbeing on an even footing with academic progress and student engagement as an important goal that schools across all sectors of the education system must work towards, and report on their progress. 

Let’s hope we really do build back better.

On the School website, there is information about school counselling and advice on finding support for a range of mental health concerns (In the loop > Counselling). See also Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service on 1800 512 348. 

Also, in this year’s budget the federal government has increased the maximum number Medicare-subsidised mental health sessions (the Better Access scheme) to 20 per year as a temporary measure until July 2022. These sessions, accessed through GPs, are provided by psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists with appropriate qualifications and experience.

Martin Graham

School Counsellor


Dear Parents/Carers

Please note that the due date on Term 4, 2020 Fee accounts was by the 18th December 2020. Should you be experiencing any financial difficulties due to COVID-19, please contact the School to discuss fee assistance options available. No payments can be accepted at either the Nirimba or Schofields Office after Monday 14th December 2020 due to our Financial Rollover.

We would like to thank those families that have already finalised their accounts for 2020 especially due to the unpredictability of this year for families due to COVID-19.


The following Busways information can be found on the website under In The Loop / School Notes / Bus Information 

  • Opal Campaign Letter To Families 
  • Guidelines For Managing School Student Behaviour On Buses
  • How To Apply For All Opal Cards  
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