Ave Maria College

Newsletter - Volume 97 No 6• 17 August 2020


Loving God, in the midst of these challenging times may we embrace the gifts you give us – in each other and in the world around us – so that we might shrug off uncertainty and make the most of the gift of the present. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Please refer to the College Calendar for all Upcoming Events and Dates of Importance

From the Principal

Dear Families/Carers, 

Wednesday, 11 August 2020 is the feast day of St Clare of Assisi.  As an important Franciscan figure and as one of our four House Patrons St Clare of Assisi holds a very special place in the Ave Maria Community.   

Commencing at a young age Clare underwent both an intellectual and spiritual transformation eventually making the decision to commit herself to a religious life of prayer, simplicity and poverty.  Born into a Noble family in the 1190’s Clare always had the capacity to amaze those around her, first through her insightful way of viewing the world and then by undertaking charitable works for the poor and dying.  She became increasingly aware and sensitive to the needs of the poor, developing a growing compassion towards them. This growing awareness and compassion enabled her to raise her eyes towards the ‘poor Christ’ who through his crucifixion had become the least among humans.  It was through the faces of the poor that God’s humanity was revealed to her.  Eventually Clare left her family home, disposing of her wealth to join St Francis of Assisi, and, to eventually establish the Poor Clare’s as they are now known.  In doing so, she and her fellow sisters lived a humble life of poverty that enabled them to be available and open to encounter God but to also consecrate their lives to God. 

There are many stories about the life of St Clare of Assisi and the sisters of the Poor Clare’s, but to the Ave Maria Community St Clare of Assisi was a women well ahead of her time who provides us with great inspiration. She models to our community, and in particular our students, what it means to have a strong sense of self, to be humble, to be courageous, to be resilient, to be selfless, to be committed and to be a women of firm faith. 

O God, who in your mercy 

led Saint Clare to a love of poverty, 

grant, through her intercession, 

that, following Christ in poverty of spirit, 

we may merit to contemplate you 

one day in the heavenly Kingdom. 

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 

who lives and reigns with you 

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 

one God, for ever and ever. 


Happy feast day St Clare of Assisi!!! 

Finally, I would again like to take the opportunity to reach out to families who maybe experiencing unexpected financial hardship due to COVID-19.  I want to reassure our community that we are here to assist you in every way possible. We also understand that this unprecedented situation has the potential to take an emotional toll on both the wellbeing and physical health of our community members. If you have concerns about your changed financial situation due to COVID-19, please contact a member of our finance team via email at  AMC-Finance@avemaria.vic.edu.au so that we can explore with you confidential financial support. 

God bless and may we continue to strive for truth through love. 

Tanya Hutton 

Congratulations James Vella

On behalf of the Ave Maria community we would like to congratulate James Vella, Director of Studies who has been selected to be a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for 2020 and 2021. As part of this program James will be a member of an exclusive global community where he will be able to share ideas, try new approaches and collaborate with other educators from around the world.  James has been selected to be part of this program due to his educational passion, collaborative spirit and strive to inspire our students with outside the box thinking related to the use of technology in education.  Well done James! 

Deputy Principal Staff, Learning and Teaching

Welcome to Term 3 and online learning 2.0!

All families have been sent a link to the Stage 3 and 4 Learning Quick Reference Guide for this term. Students in Years 7-12 will engage in online learning for the next 6 weeks. Students are asked to have their cameras on from the start of every lesson. We have two new features in MS Teams called Large Gallery and Together Now that enables the class to see each other – it looks like they are sitting in a classroom together which is great!

I encourage you to make contact with your daughter’s Mentor Teacher during this time, if you have any concerns regarding the online learning program. This is a challenging time for us all however, we are well prepared to meet the learning and wellbeing needs of our students and we will continue to support them throughout this term.

Years 7-10 Parent Student Teacher Interviews – Wednesday, 9 September

Year 7-10 PTS Interviews will be conducted on Wednesday, 9 September 2020 via MS Teams. VCE PTS Interviews were conducted via this platform very successfully last week. A reminder that Wednesday, 9 September 2020 is a Student Free Day for all students, in order to facilitate these important interviews.

Ave Maria Day – Friday, 11 September 2020

This year Ave Maria Day will look a little different as it will be a live streamed event on MS Teams. Despite not being physically together, we are determined to make this a day of fun and celebration for our College community!
More details will be communicated to all students closer to the event.

My very best wishes to all families at this time,

God bless,

Michelle Robertson

Director of Studies

2021 Subject Selection

Thank you to the parents/carers and students who attended the recent Subject Selection Evening online via Microsoft Teams. A big thank you also goes out to the College staff who prepared resources for students and parents, as well as answered questions on the evening. From all accounts, the night was a great success. If you have any feedback about the evening, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The Web Preferences Portal has now closed for students in Years 8 – 11. An acknowledgement has been distributed via the Parent Access Module for parents/carers to confirm that they have discussed and support their child’s selection of subjects for the 2021 school year. Further acknowledgements will be sent out in the coming weeks (regarding applications for acceleration and subjects that attract levies) for students who have chosen these pathways.

Students in Year 7 will be required to choose which language they would like to continue with for the next two years in the coming weeks.

Return to Online Learning

With the State Government’s announcement of the return to remote and flexible (online) learning from Wednesday, 5 August 2020, it is timely for me to remind parents of the following arrangements:

·       Year 7 – 10 and VCE Unit 2 (Year 11) students will still complete assessments in the online learning period. These will be recorded as a Satisfactory or Not Satisfactory result on Ave Learning, with feedback indicative of the student’s level of performance as well as highlighting areas for growth and improvement.

·       Students studying VCE Unit 4 (Year 12) subjects will resume the completion of SACs online. These will be used for the purposes of scored assessment and will contribute to their study scores. This is in line with current VCAA administrative requirements. Parents/carers are requested to provide a consent for their daughter for each task they are required to complete.

·       Attendance in online classes is key. Students are also reminded that they are required to have their cameras on for the duration of lessons to help facilitate connection with their teachers and peers.

Further to this, all scored VCE Unit 4 students are still required to complete the General Achievement Test (GAT). This had been rescheduled to Wednesday, 9 September 2020 however has now been pushed back to Wednesday, 7 October 2020 due to the returning to remote and flexible (online) learning. Further details about this will follow for relevant students.   

James Vella

Director of Faith and Religious Education

College Prayer

Students and staff will be able to join in prayer from 11.10am to 11.20am on Thursdays (Day 4 and Day 9) on the AMC – College Community Team

Reflection on St Francis

This is the first of the reflections written by our Franciscan Captains, Mia Kefenhoerster and Danielle Thompson:

St Francis of Assisi is known for his humility, selflessness and his deep devotion to treating God’s creation, both the environment and humankind, with dignity and love. St Francis discovered his own identity by encountering the crucified Christ, which allowed him to discover his own ‘woundedness’ and sins. This self-reflection enabled him to go out to the poor and sick, as community became the main way Francis expressed his faith. The deeper he entered into the mystery of Christ through personal prayer, the more he recognised Christ in the world around him - in his brothers and sisters, the lepers, in the sick and in all the creatures of creation. He turned his faith into action by demonstrating God’s love in his words, charitable deeds and in all his relationships with others. He also challenged the egocentric social class system of his time by embracing poverty and inspired many others to follow the same path. St Francis’ messages of social and environmental consciousness, self-sacrifice and compassion are now more relevant than ever. At Ave, we can draw upon our Franciscan heritage by striving to live out our faith in action, so that we may “preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.”


When people, young or old, ask questions about their faith, it can make some others feel uncomfortable. As far as I’m concerned, God gave us a brain to use which is why one description for theology is ‘faith seeking understanding’. I think it is also fair to say that the situation in which we currently find ourselves is also likely to lead to questions. Part of our discomfort with questions, is that we may not have ready answers. That is OK. I think it is important to honour the questioner (and the question) by not rushing to give an answer, praise them for their thinking, then admitting the partial knowledge we all have. In that way we also build mutual respect. Questions may not be easy  - but it is a privilege to be asked!

Patrick Jurd

Director of Student Wellbeing

Student Wellbeing

In the Mentor Program this week our Year 10 and Year 11 students completed the Mission Australia Survey. This survey is conducted throughout Australia, with over 25,000 young people participating in 2019. The survey is designed to tell us about the challenges that face young people and the issues that most concern them. By participating in this survey our young people have an opportunity to have a voice and identify the issues that concern them. We look forward to reading the results of the survey to gain a greater understanding of young people. This will be particularly important in 2020 given the magnitude of the challenges that our young people have encountered this year.

Self-care and self-management is also a feature of our work with our students as we encounter another period of remote learning. Our Year 7 and 8 students focused on this topic for Mentor Period this week. They were challenged to identify specific strategies that they can use to enhance their wellbeing. We understand that wellbeing must be fostered and monitored, particularly during times of stress, rapid change or uncertainty. Our current conditions are fertile ground for our students to develop a persistent low mood and feelings of anxiety. We encourage the students to identify strategies that work for them, recognizing that we each respond in different ways. While some young people really respond to mindfulness and gentle exercise, others find music or creative hobbies more helpful.

However, there are some key strategies that help to support our young people. This includes:

  • Limiting the use of mobile phones and social media. We encourage parents to be proactive in regulating the use of digital media, especially when the students are spending so much time on screens during learning time.  
  • Getting outside of bedrooms. Spending time with others in a physical form is an important social contact that supports the development of different social skills. Young people should be encouraged to spend time with others and to spend time outside of their bedroom.
  • Fresh air and movement. Fresh air is regenerative and movement becomes increasingly important when we are sitting for so much of the day. The incidental movement of walking between classes or around the school is lost when working from home so students should be mindful of deliberately making an effort to move throughout the day.

As always, if you are concerned about your young person’s wellbeing or mental health please speak to the Mentor Teacher, Sub-School Leader or Director of Student Wellbeing. If you are concerned about harm or an acute issue please contact your General Practitioner for a Mental Health Care Plan. The government has extended its support from 10 free or subsidized psychologist sessions to 20 sessions this year in recognition of the challenge that the year presents. Your GP can organise this plan and support you in finding a psychologist.

 Natalie Meddis

Careers and Pathways

Virtual Open Days

All Year 10 to 12 students should plan to attend. These are an opportunity to check out virtual tours of campuses and courses of interest. Year 10 is a great time to commence these visits. Upcoming dates here. This weekend: Swinburne University, Deakin University and JMC Academy.

Year 10 Focus Day

Year 10 students participated in a Careers Focus Day on Friday, 24 July 2020, learning about pathways into different career areas and courses with a special presentation from RMIT, as a dual sector tertiary institution. Students were able to reflect on their interests, then locate and download resources to explore tertiary courses. The ‘2023 Prerequisites Guide’ and the year 10 VTAC Guide’ are vital for selecting subjects in VCE. These are located on the Ave Careers website under the Senior School tab.

Year 12 Tertiary Applications

Year 12 students participated in a VTAC Registration Session on Wednesday, 5 August 2020, where students registered and began their tertiary applications. All students will have a meeting with a Careers Adviser to assist with the application process. Parents are welcome to attend these appointments.

A recorded presentation explaining the VTAC Application Process is now available. Parents and students can use the link to watch on demand.

VTAC will also be hosting free live VTAC webinars for parents and students. The session provides a complete overview of the VTAC application process and the opportunity for questions.
Click to see dates and register to attend a live webinar

Newsletter articles available here. Topics this week include:

·       University applications are now open for all States.

·       Online VTAC Webinars – how to apply for Victorian courses, scholarships and special consideration

·       Early Admission Programs

·       Upcoming Virtual Open Days

·       Career and course exploration resources

·       Virtual career events and recorded webinars

Labour Market

The impact of COVID-19 on the labour market has been drastic, with an average 50% less job advertisements. It is worth noting however, the skills that employers are most commonly seeking, even during this time. The below infogram from DET, shows the skills that are most requested in orange font. Important for us to keep in mind - as we prepare our students for future employability.

College Captains

After a long-awaited return back on site, the Year 11 and 12 cohorts relished in the homely environment of our College, that was very much missed during remote learning. Although we were only able to spend the first 3 weeks of Term 3 as a physically united community, as College Captains, we know all VCE students are more than capable of grappling with the strenuous task of a more independent style of learning, as we overcame the same challenge with grace and persistence in Term 2. In lieu of our return to Microsoft Teams classes, we have established a firm set of rituals that we feel will ensure the best possible outcome and experience for all students, whether in VCE or in Years 7 to 10. It is crucial to get a full night's rest, in order to wake up early and refreshed for a full day of learning at home. Last time round, lots of girls often felt unmotivated to produce a strict schedule for their day without the guidance of teachers, so this may be a great help. Where possible, reward yourself for your hard work! With all social distancing guidelines in mind, do your daily hour of exercise or ease your mind by listening to music. The health and wellbeing of all Ave students is paramount in this current moment. Moreover, remember to express your gratitude and give thanks to your teachers. School is no less difficult for them remotely, as it is for us!

Due to the unprecedented interruptions that we have encountered this term, our hopes in relation to our sustainability initiative have been somewhat compromised. This term, we endeavoured to begin implementing some sustainable items across the school, including a worm farm, which would particularly be utilised during food technology classes. However, with remote learning back in action, this is most likely something we will tackle in Term 4. For the time being, we hope to continue promoting our initiative through the College’s social media platforms, in order to encourage students, teachers and parents alike, to adapt or continue executing a sustainable lifestyle in their own homes. In doing this, we will continue with our sustainability challenge, which was held via the College Instagram page. We were overjoyed with the amount of applications we received for this challenge; which involved students submitting an image of how they were staying sustainable during the holidays and as online learning began. Whilst this initiative was put on hold for a little while, we are ready to start gathering some more applications! So, please be prepared to share how you are staying sustainable in your homes and we will be sure to announce a winner soon! 

Annually, our College celebrates our Feast Day, by showcasing the best talents and passions within our Ave community. Ave Day is usually comprised of various events, organised by members of the College Executive and the Senior Student Leadership Team. This year, it was decided that the day would also include the presentation of our biannual show ‘Spectacular Spectacular’. This is a House event, which involves each respective House presenting a short play, in relation to the College Theme. Calling any actors, singers, dancers or writers, we aim to reflect this year's College Theme of ‘True Power is Love’ through the narrative of each performance. With the reintroduction of remote learning, this day has been further adjusted and will now be an online event. The Senior Student Leadership Team, alongside incredibly dedicated members of the College Executive, have been planning this event for many weeks, to ensure that students are able to take a break from online studies, as well as continue to feel a sense of involvement and community. 

As we navigate through the next six weeks, we remind you to remain positive and remember that despite being apart, we are closer than ever. This pandemic has been a challenge for all of us, but we have definitely grown together in strength, faith and persistence. 

Stay safe and keep pushing! 

Claudia Fox and Danielle Reed - 2020 College Co-Captains

Arts News

Hey Ave!

With the whole school returning to online learning, it’s important to ensure the balance of creativity isn’t thrown out of order. Remember to schedule time out for yourself and pursue your hobbies outside of school, whether that be writing, playing music, baking, drawing, painting, or even catching up on your favourite TV show. We need to be practicing proper self care right now, and allowing yourself an outlet through which you can express creative freedom is part of this.

There are also plenty of opportunities to harness your creativity in school at the moment, with preparations for both 'Spectacular Spectacular' and the Annual Talent Show well and truly underway. These performances will be shared on Ave Day which is fast approaching, so get excited and be on the lookout for them! Auditions for the talent show are still open, but not for very long! If you still wish to submit an audition, you can apply via the form found on daily messages. 

A re-imagined showcase of performances is also in the works, with lunchtime performances set to take place each Day 3 on the Community Channel via Microsoft Teams. We’ll be looking for any and all music acts across the school, so if there’s something you’re currently working on in class, learning with a private tutor, or maybe even an original piece of work you’d like to share with the world, get practicing and keep an eye out for further announcements. If you have any questions, feel free to email myself or Mr Minty.

Remember to stay healthy, connected, and most of all CREATIVE!

Mia Ranalletta - Arts Captain

Simon Everywhere

Ave Maria College is proud to introduce Simon Everywhere, a smartphone app, designed to streamline the communication process for our families.

Simon Everywhere allows you to conveniently access your daughter’s reports, grades and attendance, update medical information, notify student absences, give consent for excursions and communicate directly with teachers. Essentially it is your Parent Access Module (PAM) account in the convenience of an app.
To utilise this facility simply download the Simon Everywhere app from your devices App Store, select Ave Maria College from the schools dropdown list and enter your previously supplied PAM account credentials.

Click here to access the College Parent Access Module (PAM)
The SkoolBag App is the easiest way to keep up with school events, last minute notices, newsletters and all school communications.

CDFpay is an online payment platform families can use to pay for school services from your mobile, tablet or computer at any time.

Families can:

  • place student online lunch orders.
  • add funds to student accounts to be used for over the counter canteen purchases.
  • add funds to student accounts to be used for Printing Credit.

Excellence Scholarships

Excellence Scholarships are now available for Year 9 and 11 students in 2021.

Open to current and prospective students.

Apply for a Scholarship.