28 August 2020

From the Principal

Year 12 News

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) Trial Examinations conclude on Monday. I would like to commend our Year 12 students on the manner in which they prepared for these exams and the genuine attempts they have made to achieve their best possible results. Following these examinations, the students will be completing HSC courses and revising further for the HSC. Despite the challenges encountered to this point, the next 8 weeks can add significant value to their HSC outcome. It is crucial that this time is used effectively to ensure successful progression to the HSC exams. On return in Term 4, the Year 12 teachers will be holding workshops in each subject area as well as the Wellbeing Team running workshops to support student wellbeing in meditation and calm/mindfulness. Following the school holidays in September/October, these workshops will assist students to reconnect face-to-face and continue their preparations for their HSC. 

NOW is the time to make a PLAN and set a GOAL to maximise work and study over the next 8 weeks. Please continue to keep the students in your prayers during this time.

We are currently in planning for our celebrations to farewell and commemorate the contribution of our Year 12 girls as they finish their 6 year journey at the College. This creative planning will ensure that our College community of parents, carers and grandparents can be part these celebrations through live streaming. More detail will be provided in coming days.

Year 11 Preliminary Examinations

Over the next couple of weeks, Year 11 are preparing to conclude their HSC Preliminary courses. They will begin exams on 7 September. Consistent effort now is the best investment for setting them up for success to begin their HSC courses in Term 4.

CSDA Debating

Our four rounds of interschool zoom debating have now concluded. We await decisions from CSDA regarding the finals. Thanks to our Debating Co-Captains for their report later in this Newsletter.

Happy Father’s Day 6 September

Happy Father’s Day to all our Dads and father figures next Sunday, 6 September. Watch out for our special Father’s Day card. We look forward to future times when we can acknowledge the great relationship of fathers with their daughters by celebrating with our ‘Father’s Day Liturgy and Breakfast’ on Cerdon Plaza again.

Dr Anne Ireland, Principal

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter #2, #8 

Key changes that will apply to Sydney Catholic Schools include:

 Safety and Hygiene

  • Vigilance in ensuring that students do not attend school if they are unwell.
  • Students absent or sent home due to flu like symptoms need to be tested.
  • Students must not return to school until they return a negative COVID-19 result and are symptoms free.
  • Schools must sight the negative COVID-19 test result prior to allowing students to return to school.

School Operations

  • Where possible, students should stay within their relevant cohort group (i.e. class, year group, or stage) for all learning activities within their school.
  • Only providers that are essential to the delivery of curriculum can continue to provide services and programs until further notice.
  • Parents/carers and other non-essential visitors are not allowed on the school site.
  • School-related group singing or chanting activities and use of wind instruments in groups is prohibited.
  • School-related social activities (e.g. school formals, dinners or dances; graduation ceremonies; or parent engagement functions) are prohibited.
  • School-related overnight events (e.g. retreats, camps, excursions) as there is increased risk of transmission of the virus in a residential type setting with shared facilities are prohibited.
  • A Year 12 Graduation Assembly is allowed with restrictions.
  • Schools must not travel outside of their local community area or zone for all inter-school activities.

From the Assistant Principal

Being COVID-19 Safe

As outlined above, last week the government placed further restrictions on schools and once again, we have aligned our processes so that the health and safety of all in our community remains our priority. 

As communicated by Dr Ireland last week, the new measures state that we need to be vigilant in ensuring that staff and students do not attend school or work if they are unwell. Students absent or sent home due to flu like symptoms now need to be tested and cannot return to school until they return a negative COVID-19 result and are symptoms free.

Schools are required to sight the negative COVID-19 test result prior to allowing students and staff to return to school. Any students with flu-like symptoms will need to provide a copy of a negative COVID-19 test result before being permitted to return to school. This is generally in the form of a text message which you are now required to screen capture and email to .

We thank you for your ongoing support in ensuring that all members of our College remain healthy and safe. 

Sydney Catholic Schools' Coronavirus Information and Updates can be found here:


As communicated previously, it is important that students Tap On and Tap Off at the start and at the end of each trip with their Student Opal Card. This is important to ensure correct patronage data is recorded. Currently many students are failing to Tap On and Tap Off the Opal readers when using their Student Opal Card.  

Additionally, as more parents are deciding to pick up their daughters from school, we are asking that parents consider the safety of all in the area and refrain from making U-turns on Woolwich Road. Please note that Police and Council Rangers patrol the area around the College and that road and parking rules must be observed. 

Furthermore, I need to reiterate that only students who have sought permission from the College to catch the ferry are able to leave the College early. Students will not be permitted to leave the College to catch the ferry without express permission. 

Thank you all for your ongoing support and flexibility during these times.

Ms Julie Bjazevich, Acting Assistant Principal

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter #2 & #8

From the Religious Education Coordinator

On Monday our Year 12 students sat the Studies of Religion I and II Trial HSC examinations and the Year 12 Studies in Catholic Thought class sat their final course examination. This is a new HSC course that is structured around the study of two themes central of the Catholic tradition; Who is a human person? and The Good Life. Through their studies, it hoped that the students have come to a deeper understanding of Catholic belief, thinking and tradition.

You are invited to pray for our Year 12 students as they complete their last weeks at school.

Over recent weeks I have often heard the term, ‘the new normal’ with reference to how to go about our lives with COVID-19. As we continue to experience the ups and downs of life, we also continue to seek and desire happiness. Below is the translation of a Portuguese text titled “Palco de vida” (Stages of Life), attributed to the renowned poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). 

Palco de vida - Stages of Life

“You can have flaws, be anxious, and even be angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity. Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life. Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a “no”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us. To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”. It is to have the courage to say “I am sorry”. It is to have the sensitivity to say, “I need you”. It is to have the ability to say “I love you”.

May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness … That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculpter serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up …. Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is a no-miss obstacle.”

“Palco de vida” (Stages of life), Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)

We pray for God’s continued grace in our lives for us to experience happiness, joy and peace in all our works and deeds. 

Miss Mary Kleist, Religious Education Coordinator

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter #2, #8

From the Leader of Learning & Curriculum

Year 7 Language Selections for Year 8 2021

All Year 7 students are currently in the process of selecting their preferences for the language that they will study in Year 8 in 2021. On Wednesday, all Year 7 students embarked on a journey to experience a taster lesson in Italian, French and Spanish. Students were exposed to the culture and basic language of each of the three languages on offer at the college in 2021. Students are reminded that their language choices must be submitted electronically by Monday 31 August. Once completed online, students need to print off the form and have it signed by their parent/carer. Students should return the printed form to the submission box outside the College’s General Administration Office by Tuesday 1 September.

Year 11 Final Preliminary Assessment Block

As noted by Dr Ireland, Year 11 will undertake their final Preliminary Assessment block in Weeks 8 and 9 of this term, from Monday 7 September to Thursday 17 September. During this time students will only attend the College to complete their assessments.

To assist students with their preparation for these assessments supervised quiet study will be provided in Jarnosse between 3:30pm-5:30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Week 7. There is no requirement for students to book in and can just sign in on the day. Students may leave before 5:30pm and will be required to sign out if they leave before 5:30pm.

Year 12 Trial Examinations

On Tuesday Year 12 will return from their Trial Exams and begin the last block of class time before their HSC Exams. This is an extremely valuable time to complete covering content and skills in each of their courses as well as to consolidate and hone their skills, particularly in exam technique. I strongly encourage all Year 12 students to use this time wisely and take full advantage of the expertise and support of their teachers that is available to them. Now that individual school-based assessment has concluded it is important that students work together in their classes to maximise their performance as a cohort.

Mrs Melinda Alvarez, Leader of Learning and Curriculum

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter #2 & #8

From the Leader of Wellbeing


Our Student Leaders are working behind the scenes in preparation for RU OK?@ MSCW. With the challenges that many young people and their families are experiencing in our current climate, it is important that we continue to stay connected and look out for one another. 

In Week 7 the Student Leaders are taking agency in driving the awareness week that has included the involvement of whole school initiatives, through Tutor group writing gratitude messages, to robust discussions, including daily lunchtime activities, to engaging the staff to wear yellow as a form of support, whilst the girls wear yellow coloured ribbons on Wellbeing Wednesday. Their passion and determination to take action is to be commended as they recognise the need for ongoing communication in how we can keep ourselves safe, connected and most importantly, valued for their gifts and unique individual being. 

Reaching Out for Support

Reaching out for support is crucial as Australian statistics show that:

  • the onset of mental illness is typically around mid-to-late adolescence and Australian youth (18-24 years old) who have the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group. 

  • data from the 2014 Mission Australia’s Youth Survey showed that around one in five (21.2%) of young people (15-19 years old) met the criteria for a probable serious mental illness.

  • the most common mental illnesses in Australians are: 

      • anxiety disorders (14%), 

      • depressive disorders (6%) 

      • substance use disorders (5%) 

Generating awareness and implementing our 3 tiered evidence based Wellbeing programs help to shine a focus on the importance of student wellbeing, how we effectively take care of ourselves as well as how we manage our emotions as they become heightened during times of challenge. Early intervention and engaging in these conversations with trusted family members, House Coordinators, Counsellors, trusted Teachers/Tutors or a Leadership Team member, encourages the importance of support when we reach out and how to best navigate the situation moving forward.

MMCGs Semester 2 Goals

This week Tutor groups and year Team Mentors spent time with their students to start mapping out the goals that have been set for Semester 2. Evidence certainly supports the importance of goal setting and the impact that this has on the individual learner and their wellbeing. Please take some time to ask your daughters what goals they have set or may be continuing to work on this semester. More time will also be allocated in Week 7 Community time to discuss this in greater detail with their Tutors.

Year 12 Wellbeing Sessions

In continuing to support the return of Year 12 next week, we are very excited to announce that the wellbeing sessions that were in place pre-Trials will be continuing until the end of the term. 

In addition, we will be offering a ‘Brekky Club’  on the Lavalla Terrace commencing next Wednesday 2 September from 8am - 8.40am. This will allow the girls to enjoy ‘brekky’ with their friends whilst overlooking the water and the beautiful surrounds of Woolwich. Please look at the roster for the exciting initiatives for the term ahead.

Ms Sia Mastro, Leader of Wellbeing

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter  #8

A Word from the Counsellor

The Challenge of Navigating Mental Health Services

You might be managing a daughter who is quite anxious, low in mood or where something else is “just not right”. My advice to parents is to trust your intuition as you know your daughter best, so if you feel the current supports in place are ineffective, then I encourage you to act on it. You may have already spoken to a counsellor, someone at school, your GP, got a referral, or perhaps your daughter has been assessed by the adolescent Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS) at either Ryde or Royal North Shore Hospital. Whatever is your place on the journey of getting help for your daughter, if you are not satisfied with the outcomes, please talk with someone about it. If your daughter tells you there is no improvement, despite current interventions, then please listen to them.

Speak with your daughter about what they feel is working or not working, and speak with the external clinician about what you have noticed at home. If you still have no luck, then have a chat with either of the school counsellors and with your consent, we may be able to liaise and or advocate with the current supports you have in place, to work toward a better outcome. Sometimes young people improve after seeing someone externally or even after a few meetings with the college counsellor, but then regress. Or sometimes they need longer term interventions. Sometimes young people don’t connect with their clinician and therefore sessions with their psychologist/counsellor may prove unproductive. It can be a costly exercise to go through this process again and again, and there are other services that can help so it is vitally important... If you are not happy with the improvement in your daughter’s symptoms, or they return, please continue to seek answers.

This process can be very challenging and exhausting, seeing various clinicians and telling your story over and over again, (especially if you are working full time)... sometimes improvements will plateau or decline before they get better or improvements are seen for a few weeks or months then escalate or decline again. It can be a continuum of ups and downs. Sometimes recovery takes longer than you or the experts expected. It can be a tough process, but you can contact the school and or speak with one of the counsellors here to work out a better plan. We are here to support your daughter’s emotional wellbeing and can actively advocate for young people accessing appropriate mental health care and help you navigate your way through the mental health system.

Below is a list of the main youth mental health services available in the local area that you can access free of charge:

1. Headspace
Low Level Intervention
Chatswood Headspace Ph: 8021 3668
Headspace delivers early intervention mental health, drug and alcohol, sexual health and employment services for young people in a youth friendly environment. For young people with mild to moderate mental health conditions

Moderate Level Intervention
Ph: 1800 937 776 E.
YESS is a mental health outreach service for 12 – 25 year-olds who have, or are at risk of developing, a serious mental illness. YESS is an early intervention program and services can include a combination of psychological intervention, case management, peer work, psychiatry support and family intervention. For young people with moderate to severe mental health conditions. It is a service for young people who may require more support than what headspace can provide and for those who do not meet the criteria for the local Child & Youth Mental Health Services (CYMHS).

3. Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS)
High Level Intervention
Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Ph: 02 9485 6155 Lower North Shore Ph: 9462 9222 Ryde Ph: 9448 6877
The NSLHD Child and Youth Mental Health Services (CYMHS) provide specialist mental health assessment and intervention to children and young people experiencing significant emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. For children and young people with moderate to severe mental health conditions.

Mental Health Intervention & Support Services:

-Mental Health Line Ph: 1800 011 511
(24 hours/ 7 Days a week) 
Provides professional help and advice and referrals to local mental health services, children, teens,  adults and older people.

-Family Referral Service Ph: 1800 066 757
(8am– 6pm Monday to Friday)
Linking families with the most appropriate service or supports for their individual needs

-Butterfly Foundation Ph: 1800 33 4673 or
Provides information and support for eating disorders and body image issues

-Sydney Drug Education and Counselling Centre North Shore Service
Ph: 02 9977 0711
Provides free counselling and support for young people aged 12-25 with problematic alcohol and other drugs use (AOD)

-Domestic Violence Line 1800RESPECT
Ph: 1800 656 463
1800RESPECT is the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service

-Local General Practitioner (GP) Local GP’s can make referrals to a Mental Health Clinician (i.e.Social Worker, Psychologist, Occupational Therapist) under a Mental Health Care Plan. Under the Mental Health Care plan, you may be entitled to Medicare rebates for up to 10 individual and 10 group sessions.

Should you wish to discuss any of the above please contact the College Counsellors, Becky Salter on phone: 0435 659 694  (Mon-Fri) or email: or email Kellie Dargan at who will be working Mon-Wed.

  Ms Becky Salter, College Counsellor

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter  #8

House News

It is hard to believe that six weeks of Term Three have now passed. I, as always, am in awe of the wonderful efforts and resilience of our Marist girls. Thus far, I have seen some extraordinary preparation from our Year 12 students in the lead up to their HSC trials, with my wonderful Chanel girls being ever so conscientious in all their studies.

Year 11 has also been so incredibly focussed with Preliminary Exams in their sights. I am proud to say that the cohort have been incredible leaders over the last two weeks while year twelve have been in-and-out for their exams.

Our Year 7 to 10 students have been so supportive of our senior students, mindful of noise moving about classrooms and near the hall. A great display of Sisterhood has been demonstrated this term and it truly warms my heart to see the girls at their best. 

As I finish up today to begin my maternity leave and welcome baby number two to my beautiful family, it is hard to walk away from my Chanel girls as well as my fabulous classes and colleagues. I adore every moment spent with MSCW students and I will miss the ladies’ tremendously. I am so grateful for the leadership of Hannah Pratt, Taya Bailey and Tamar Mazmanian over Terms One and Two. They showed the fiery tenacity alongside warmth and care that I have come to expect in my Chanel girls. Equally, I have been blessed to work with Gabriella Stanwix, Erynne Galanos and Orlaith Davis as Chanel Co-captains and Liturgy Captain this term. They have already shone so brightly in their six or so weeks of leadership and I am so proud of them. I am incredibly excited to see the wonderful things my beautiful Chanel family will achieve while I am away and wish the entire MSCW community many blessings over the next year.

Ms Rebecca Bombaci, Chanel House Coordinator

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter #2 & #8

CSDA Debating

After a prolonged start to the season, we have now completed all four rounds of debating for the 2020 CSDA Debating season. In the last round of the season we versed Marist College Eastwood. At the conclusion of the night 8 of our 10 teams won their debates.  This was an amazing result considering the circumstances which all girls worked around this season.

Our ability to adapt to the COVID restrictions with the debates commencing over zoom every round demonstrated the courage and adaptability of Marist girls. Whilst debating over zoom has presented its own challenges, we are very grateful to even be able to debate this year. 

The current global concerns created some interesting topics this season including :

  • ‘That we are on the verge of revolutions’;
  • ‘Working from home is here to stay’; and 
  • ‘That cool heads prevail in the global warming debate’. 

We are so proud of all the girl's efforts throughout the entire season as well as their commitment to training and making sure they are always ready for their debates. Congratulations girls!

Our successes this season are a credit to the dedication and encouragement which our teachers give to all of our teams. We would particularly like to thank Mrs Belinda White, Mr Neubronner and all the other teachers who help out with coaching teams and adjudicating debates. Your efforts and dedication have not gone unnoticed, particularly with staying back at school on Friday nights to both supervise and adjudicate our debates.  Also, this season could not have been possible without the support of Dr Ireland and Mrs Bjazevich. Their continuous support and encouragement has not gone unnoticed and is really appreciated. 

This debating season is far from what anyone of us imagined it would be but we are so proud and happy with the results as well as the improvements within teams. Without the girls enthusiasm to get involved whether that be as a debater or staying back at school to timekeep and be a chairperson, all your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Even though the season is over Public Speaking will be starting back up in the first term next year and Debating in Term 2. So, we can’t wait to see even more girls get involved in Debating and Public Speaking in the next year and share their gifts. 

Jacinta Bechara and Nikolina Kero, Year 11 Debating Captains

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter  #8

Year 11 Biology Excursion

In Week 3, all Year 11 Biology students attended a field trip to the Lane Cove National Park accompanied by their biology teachers, Ms Carolyn Chew, Mr Harley Keller and myself. During their excursion, students had the opportunity to survey the biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) aspects of the Coastal sandstone gully forest ecosystem. Despite the sketchy forecast students were excited and positive throughout the day and had many memorable experiences. Below is Madison Mides’ recount of the day.

Ms Marilyn La Rocca, Science Coordinator

On 7 August, Year 11 Biology students had the opportunity to explore Lane Cove National Park with the help of Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre. During our time at the national park, we had the opportunity to use different equipment to take measurements of our surroundings to learn about two specific animals that live there, the long-nosed bandicoot and red-crowned toadlet. These two species are limited in population size in Australia but are both located at the Sugarloaf Point in the national park. By conducting first hand investigations and collecting primary data in the national park, we investigated the best living conditions for both of these species, while learning how to gather information with different scientific equipment. Overall, we all had a lot of fun on the day exploring the national park and learning new things about these two animals and it was a useful experience we will never forget that extended our scientific thinking. 

Madison Mides, Yr 11 Biology Student

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter #2 and #6

Jarnosse News

Resource Lists for Year 12, 2021

Year 12, 2021 orders are now open. Please place all orders online by Wednesday 9 September 2020. You will receive your order during the week ending Friday 9 October 2020. For further information please see below.

Ms Celeste McNicholas, Leader of eLearning & Information Services

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter  #8

Year 12, 2021 Campion orders (please click 'Download' below)


Second Hand Uniform Shop Update

Second Hand Clothing Pool

We are currently in the process of implementing an online ordering system, which we hope to launch shortly.

In the meantime you can place your orders and send enquiries through to .

We have a comprehensive range of good quality second hand uniforms available for purchase.

Mr Andrew Hallman, Business Manager

This article on College life meets The Archbishop's Charter for Catholic Schools - Charter  #8

Canteen News

Canteen Weekly Specials - Term 3 2020

Community News

Teaching Your Learner Driver Workshop