McAuley News

Term 3, Issue 8 - 21 August 2020


Appointment of School Leaders for 2020 - 2021

This week we have named our elected school leaders for the 2020 - 2021 school year.

This is always a time of great joy and excitement for our school community because it is time for us to identify and celebrate the leadership skills of many of the young women who are the students of Catherine McAuley Westmead.

Leadership is a call to serve and a call to ‘strive for higher things’. It is a calling to notice what needs to be done towards building a world and community in which we act with greater integrity and courage, to become more just and hospitable, we aim for excellence and to be women of mercy. 

This year’s leadership team is comprised of an outstanding group of young women who have taken on the enormous responsibility of serving in mercy. We know, of course, that whilst this work is neither easy nor glamorous, the appointed leaders will be successful because they are strong and intelligent women who understand their charge. They have been represented by previous leaders, strong mercy women in whose footsteps they tread, and whose model of leadership will light the way for those following them. 

We congratulate them warmly on their appointment, and we look forward to working with them throughout the year.

Student Leaders for 2020 - 2021


  Aimee Hassett and Akansha Negi           


  Sophie Obreza


  Davida Sarpong


  Lanee Leonardo


  Azeerayh Mostoles  


  Raia Uri


  Jemma Abdilla


  Lily Hodge


  Charlene Panganiban


  Ruvarashe Kanyongo


  Elanah Sebastian


  Sofia Buric


  Jacqueline Hopley


  Myka Munsayac


  Freya Lipping


  Zara Denmark


  Angelina Mitri


  Charlotte Thomson


  Sofia Falzon


  Victoria Carr


  Leanne Alata


  Paige Haddad


  Macy Smith


  Charlize Tahimic


  Lucia Franulovic


  Darby Heaton


  Amy Hekeik


  Holly Zaccaria


  Lara Sitchon


  Isabella Donaldson


  Adhithi Fernandes

Latest COVID safety advice

As you know, this week has seen tighter restrictions on our usual school activities as a result of the continued transmission of COVID-19 in the community, and in schools in particular.

I would like to draw to your attention two aspects of this latest advice and ask you to reinforce these points with your daughters:

  • I would like to remind students to wear a mask when they are travelling on public transport to and from school to promote good health. I have also asked them to avoid congregating in public places. 

  • Students who have flu-like symptoms are asked 

    • not to attend school 

    • to get a COVID test 

    • to send their COVID results to the school absence email when they are received (

Students who have had a COVID test will only be permitted to return to school after we have received the results of her test.

Mary Refalo


Formative Assessment

High quality student assessment supports teachers to monitor student progress and inform them of their next steps, determine the effectiveness of chosen teaching strategies – both for learning and engagement – and to measure student understanding of a unit of work (Stronge 2002).

This semester, the PDHPE and TAS/VA faculties are concentrating on formative assessment to allow students to focus on their learning goals, understand where they are in relation to these goals and develop an understanding of what they need to do to reach their learning goals. One of the goals of formative assessment is to monitor student progress and provide ongoing feedback. Feedback from the class teachers, their peers and the students themselves, through self-evaluation, is vital to student success in the classroom. 

Strategies that will be used by teachers include;

1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success. This will assist students to increase their understanding of what their classroom experience will be and how their success will be measured.

2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, activities, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning. Teachers will use effective classroom instructional strategies that allow for the measurement of success.

3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward. Teachers will work with students to provide them with feedback needed to better understand problems and solutions.

4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another. Students will engage with each other in discussions and working groups to help improve their learning.

5. Activating learners as owners of their own learning. Students will be taught how to monitor and regulate their learning to increase their rate of learning.

We encourage conversations between parents and students about what the students are learning in the classroom, how they know they are learning and what they are doing to reach their learning goals.

Ms Silvana Rossetti 

Assistant Principal (Learning and Teaching) 

FROM THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL (Pastoral Care/Administration)

Mercy Day

Mercy Day is celebrated at Catherine McAuley on Friday, 4th September 2020. This is a compulsory day for all students. The theme for the day is ‘Pandemic: dress as your local hero from the community or frontline worker'. Girls are encouraged to dress in outfits representing the theme. The theme is decided and promoted by the SRC. The day will include a Liturgy of the Word that will be live streamed to Homeroom. In the coming week students will be given a letter to take home outlining the structure of the day. The day will be a mix of formal classes and homeroom based activities. 

Making the Most of Your Learning

 (from: Dr Prue Salter - The Study Skills Specialist)

Learning is not just what you do in the classroom. Study is not just what you do the night before a test. Both of these are ongoing activities that are enhanced by the correct pre and post activities. See which of these five Ps you do.

PREPARE: This is the stage where you ensure you have all of the materials you need for learning and have completed any pre-tasks such as reading sections of your textbook in advance or any other activities your teacher asks you to complete prior to the class.

PARTICIPATE:  Engaging in your learning is the best way to start to embed it in your memory and ensure you understand. Having the opportunity to discuss and interact and complete different styles of learning activities really helps your brain to process what you are learning.

PLAN: Take the time to look at the assessments for the course and plan when you will start, work on and complete tasks. Anytime you are asked to complete work for class, plan when you will do it and even better write your plan into your diary or online planner.

PRACTISE: One of the best ways to learn is to do practise questions. When you apply what you have learnt to actual questions, you will engage retrieval and cognitive pathways in the brain and reinforce your learning and uncover areas that need extra study.

PINPOINT: After a test or assessment is returned to you, celebrate your successes but also use it to pinpoint areas of weakness. This allows you to then spend time building your strengths in these areas without the pressure of an exam looming.

Our school’s subscription details are -

Username: mcauley               Password: 189results

Ms Debbie Grigson
Assistant Principal (Pastoral Care/Administration)

Make it Count

'Make It Count' theme was introduced in Term 1 to Year 11 students.  

A number of workshops have been run during pastoral homeroom time to help the students develop their own personal guide to being a senior student. 

The students have been presented with a Make it Count Guide and homeroom teachers have facilitated discussions as the students work through the guide. 

Topics in the guide include developing smart study habits, time management, planning assessments, maintaining motivation, overcoming procrastination, maintaining well being, sleep, balancing everything and creating a self care plan.

The activities, resources and websites in the guide will enable the students to look after themselves throughout Year 11 and Year 12 and appreciate you only get out what you put in so Make It Count!


Last Saturday the Catholic Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary being assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her life here on earth. Mary’s Assumption differs from Jesus’ Ascension' because one is passive (one is assumed) and the other is active (one ascends). 

So it is by the power of God that Mary was assumed into heaven. Writings of many early Church Fathers show that Christians have believed for two thousand years already that Mary was taken into heaven. However it wasn't until 1950 that Pope Pius XII made an apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus declaring this belief to be definitive. Perhaps the delay was due to the fact that there is no mention of this event in Scripture. The events of Mary’s life portrayed in the New Testament include the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, fleeing into Egypt as a refugee, losing Jesus in the Temple, the Wedding at Cana, Jesus’ Crucifixion and Pentecost.

Despite the absence of a Scriptural reference, the doctrine was dogmatically defined as that the Virgin Mary 'having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory'. As dogma, this means that our Church officially recognises this belief as a true and necessary part of our Catholic beliefs about Mary… and like all beliefs about Mary, they illustrate and illuminate the core beliefs about her Son: the Assumption illustrates to us the truth about Christ's promise of eternal life.

May we too be like Mary, not the meek woman as she is sometimes portrayed by artists but as the courageous and compassionate person that she revealed herself to be and that when our time comes that we will enjoy Christ’s promise of eternal life.

Ms Genevieve Banks
Religious Education Coordinator


Term 3 Fundraising For Mercy Works

During Term 3 the school’s social justice awareness raising is for Mercy Works. Mercy Works supports long term development projects, working with some of the most challenged people in Australia and the South-East Asia Pacific region, improving health, enhancing social wellbeing and expanding educational opportunities. 

All donations for Mercy Works from Catherine McAuley Westmead will assist works in Timor-Leste. Fundraising kicked off with a Krispy Kreme Doughnut stall organised by Clare and Dobson Houses on Friday, 7th August. 

The doughnuts sold out in 15 minutes! The support of students was much appreciated and the money raised will make a difference to the Katilosa Community Centre for the Disabled in Timor-Leste. Funds will help provide support for children, youth and adult women in the Baucau district of Timor-leste living with disabilities.

Look out for more fundraising activities to come.


School Captains for 2021 Announced

Aimee H. and Akansha N. have been elected as Catherine McAuley School Captains for 2021. They will take up their role in Term 4 2020.

Both Aimee and Akansha have served the school in leadership positions this year with Aimee currently the Clare House Assistant Leader and Akansha the Coolock House Assistant Leader. Throughout their time at McAuley they have also been active in many school activities. Aimee has been involved in peer leadership and tutoring, has acted as a student ambassador on open nights, is a regular participant in academic competitions and has represented the school in numerous sporting events. Akansha has been active in school debating, MCCS sport, Captivate, peer tutoring, academic competitions and assisting at various school events.

School Principal Ms Mary Refalo congratulates Aimee and Akansha and says that she knows they will serve the school well as leaders.

Read More…

VET Students Attend Simulated Work Placement

Six VET Business Services students have recently completed a simulated work placement in place of the normal work placement they would do in pre Covid times. Provided by AusSIP (Australian Schools Industry Partnership) the students attended each day for a week and were joined by 12 Parramatta Marist students also. 

Students were required to attend in office appropriate clothing and complete a number of business tasks. Some of these tasks included doing profit and loss statements and looking at different enterprise agreements. Mrs Williams, HSIE/VET Teacher said, “the students learnt how exhausting work can be and also learnt a whole range of skills that they will be able to use in the future. All the students had a great time and even learnt about the impact of Covid on businesses”.

Year 10 Students Learn About Road Safety

Year 10 students are currently considering acquiring their learner’s driving permit and many will soon obtain their provisional licence. Considering this, it is timely that the PDHPE Department organised for all Year 10 students to take part in the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness Program (RYDA) on Friday, 7th August. This program compliments what the students have been learning in their PDHPE lessons for their Road Safety Unit. 


Year 8 Visual Arts Pop Art

Year 8 Visual Arts have started the unit of work 'Pop Art' with the focus on food objects from popular culture. Students have been discussing mass production and mass consumerism, looking into the ways Pop artists gained attention through their artworks. 

These photos show some pages from the students’ Visual Arts Process Diaries showing their understanding of Pop style and subject matter.

Preliminary Rounds of CSDA Debating Concludes

The preliminary rounds in the CSDA Debating competition have concluded with the semi finals to take place after the Year 12 trials are completed (date still to be announced). The school is waiting to hear if any of our teams have been successful in going through to the semi finals.

Round 4 of the preliminary rounds took place last Friday, 14th August against St Andrew’s College, Marayong and three of the five teams won their debates. The Years 7 and 9 debating teams won their debate with the topic ‘That TikTok Should Be Stopped’ and the Senior team won with the topic ‘That We Are On The Verge Of Revolution’.

Good luck to all teams as we wait to hear if they will make it through to the semi finals.

Liturgy Kahoot Competition

The Student Liturgy Leaders, Maria M. and Raia U., developed a Liturgy Kahoot Competition this term that aimed at developing House Spirit. There were three rounds played. 

Round 1 was played by all Homerooms with the winner of each Homeroom moving onto the next round. 

Round 2 was played by all the Homeroom winners who versed each other. 

Round 3 was the grand final round and was played at lunchtime on Friday, 14th August. Well done to the grand final winners (shown in photo) 1st Tram N., 12 Dobson; 2nd Azeerayh M., 11 Clare and 3rd Anne Marie C., 10 Veritas.

Well done also to the winners from each grade:

Isabella L., 7 Ryan; Georga S., 8 Clare; Nikita B., 9 Mercedes; Ann Marie C.,10 Veritas; Azeerayh M., 11 Clare and Tram N., 12 Dobson

Ms Beverly Smith Farewelled After 45 Years At The School

The school farewelled Ms Beverly Smith on Friday, 14th August in a small morning tea held at the school. Ms Smith has retired after 45 years at the school starting in 1975!! 

Beverly Smith has devoted much of her life to the education of girls at Catherine McAuley. She is an inspirational teacher, mentor, a valued colleague and true Mercy woman in every sense of the word. In her time at McAuley Bev has been Sports Coordinator and Clare House Patron. She introduced the sport of Vigaro into the MCCS sports competition and encouraged students to play this new sport. Five of these students went on to represent NSW and two went on to represent Australia!

Read More…

McAuley Girls Do Amazing Things!

Matisse Letherbarrow Class of 2019

Former student Matisse Letherbarrow, Class of 2019, is achieving amazing things on the netball court as a player with the GIANTS. The GIANTS play in the Suncorp Super Netball Competition and Matisse is GIANT #21.

Matisse made her debut over the weekend (Saturday, 15th August) in Round 4 against the Firebirds. She played GA (Goal Attack) and scored 3 out of 4 goals. The GIANTS have said that Matisse has a promising career ahead so look out for her if watching the netball. 

Well done Matisse!

View a GIANTS interview with Matisse after the game.


Year 9 French Activities With Ms Nenchev

Year 9 French students with Ms Nenchev have started a new unit on Health and spent time this week participating in some fun activities. One activity saw teams race against each other to see who could match the correct French word with the correct picture. 

Year 10 Religious Education Students Trialling the Draft New Religious Education Curriculum

Year 10 Religious Education students have begun trialling the Draft New Religious Education Curriculum. The Learning Cycle for Term 3 is titled ‘Sexuality, Love and Human Flourishing’ which sees the students wonder about the interconnectivity between identity, dignity, sexuality and human flourishing. The students have been very engaged in the wonderings of this learning cycle and have explored the mission of the Life, Marriage and Family Office. In these photos you can see some of the class discussions about the different types of love. 

Year 10 Commerce ‘Great McAuley Election’

Year 10 Commerce students of Mrs Grima and Mrs Relan have been studying the unit ‘Political Involvement’ and have recently held in class a mock ‘Great McAuley Election’.

The students have formed small political parties, each with a leader, and have been busy developing a platform to campaign on. An election committee was also formed to oversee the election which took place using a preferential voting system as used in Australian elections.

Ms Dito’s Year 10 Commerce class are also studying the same unit and were asked to create parties for their ‘elections’ based on the issues of uniform, school hours, free periods and technology use.

Year 11 Drama Working on Improvisational Skills

The Year 11 Drama class have been working on their improvisational skills that they use for playbuilding. In the exercise shown in these photos, each group arranges the blocks to create a set for the other group who have to spontaneously improvise a short scene on that set. Each group presents to the other group and receives feedback on their performance. This exercise builds group confidence and teamwork which students can then apply to their major playbuilding task.

Year 12 HSC Music Performances

Year 12 students have performed their HSC music performances. Congratulations to all students on having completed this component of their course. View snippets from these performances. 

Follow the school Instagram Page and Facebook Page for more ‘Around the Classrooms’. Search for Catherine McAuley Westmead.


Monday, 17th August - Monday, 31st AugustHSC Trial Examinations
Monday, 24th AugustYear 9 2021 Subject Selection Talk
Wednesday, 26th AugustHSC Drama Practical Exam
Thursday, 27th AugustAustralian Science Olympiad (Physics)
Friday, 28th AugustAustralian Science Olympiad (Biology)
Friday, 4th SeptemberMercy Day
Monday, 7th September - Friday, 18th September Year 11 Exams


Skills and Thrills - Increasing Parents' Career Knowledge

As parents assist their children in navigating career choices, it is important to be knowledgeable of multiple career and employment options. Skills and Thrills are offering a free Digital Parents Showcase covering content such as apprenticeships and Traineeship, and industry trends, resources and support services. Content available from August 10 to September 4 2020. To participate, parents need to pre-register their interest via the pop up to receive viewing information and updates at

Would you like to be involved in a health study of young people?

Text Bites is an opportunity for students to be involved in a University of Sydney health and wellbeing study of 150 young people over 12 months with the Westmead Applied Research Centre. They are aiming to find out if a fun and supportive text message program can help young people lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. Parents, please see this link for further information:

All participants must complete a consent form which includes parental contact details. See expression of interest form here. Please also see the participant information sheet here.

Successful Early Entry for Year 12 2020

As Year 12 students began their HSC trials this week, many students have the reassurance of an early offer at a range of universities. Early offers are granted to students utilising Year 11 results and through community volunteering and leadership involvement within and outside of school. Most of the offers students received were unconditional, as in, regardless of the ATAR they receive, their place in a course is secure, and some of these are conditional. This year so far we have:

  • 35 students receiving a place at Macquarie University through the Leaders and Achievers program;

  • 22 students through the Western Sydney University True Rewards Program;

  • 12 students at Australian Catholic University through the Community Achievers Program, ACU Guarantee, Passion 4 Business, and Passion 4 Law;

  • 4 students through Notre Dame Early Offer program;

  • 3 students at Australian National University;

  • 1 student at Torrens University

  • 1 student at JMC Academy

  • 1 student at the Whitehouse School of Design.

Congratulations to all these Year 12 students. There are likely to be more offers made later in the year in other offers rounds and additional early offer schemes.

Mrs Amanda Chahine 
Careers Adviser


Developing Students' Writing Through Research and Reading

This year the McAuley History and Social Sciences teachers have worked closely with Misty Adoniou, an adjunct professor at the University of Canberra and celebrated educational theorist, to develop our students' writing skills. Adoniou is a passionate believer that an improvement in writing can only occur through exposure to high quality texts which role model sophisticated language and sentence structures. 

It is understandably tempting for students to turn to Google when researching for an assignment. However doing so can hampen student growth as the search results, which may be of questionable quality, also require lower literacy levels to interpret. As a result students stay firmly within their own comfort level and consequently are not stretched to their next zone of proximal development.

By working through the high quality sources provided on the databases, available through the library website, students will benefit from contact with advanced language and sentence structures which will in turn develop a ‘Broad repertoire of literacy practices and deep reservoir of language and vocabulary’(Adoniou, 2020) culminating in more sophisticated writing style. 

Adoniou, M. (2020, May 11). Video 1 Language Across The Disciplines Project - An overview [Video file]. Retrieved from


P & F Committee – An Introduction to the CMW Parents & Friends Committee

The CMW P&F Committee comprises a small group of parents and friends of Catherine McAuley students interested in contributing to the school community.  This is accomplished through discussions on how best to allocate the P&F Levy, contribute to school events and seek ways to further support their daughter’s education and well-being. 

2020 has certainly challenged how the committee operates, contributes and grows in size and value.  We are currently delivering meetings online via Webex until we may safely return to face to face meetings.  Our next meeting will be held in Term 4 on 20th October and will be followed by the Annual General Meeting.  This is a great opportunity for new members to join and become part of this friendly and supportive group.

During our meetings we have the opportunity to speak directly with the school’s Executive Team and to hear first-hand about the current events, planning and issues regarding our daughters.  The collaborative meeting allows the committee to support the school in many unique ways.  In the past 12 months the committee has successfully lobbied local council for safety fencing to be installed outside the school and near local building works. We have also corresponded with local MP’s to increase bus transport and reduce overcrowding.  Funding has been allocated to provide outdoor seating for students and provide lunch for students on Mercy Day as has been a long standing tradition. 

While the face to face meetings were a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow parents and get to know the Principal and Executive Team over a cup of tea we continue to be informed, contribute and participate together online at this point of time. 

In Term 4, we will elect the positions for committee members. Committee members can hold a role for a maximum of 3 years and the positions are: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Parent Representative Council (PRC).  You can also be a committee member without holding a specific role.  We are currently looking for a person to fill the role of PRC however anyone interested in any of the roles is encouraged to express an interest in the meeting or email the P&F if you have questions about what each role requires.  The P&F can be emailed at  There is no pressure to hold a position, nor fund raise with the CMW P&F Committee.

We would like to warmly welcome any parents interested in learning more about their daughters’ school and how they may be able to contribute at our next meeting. 

Thank you.

Natasha Swan President, Catherine McAuley Westmead P&F Committee

Second Hand Uniforms

Do You Have Any Second Hand Uniform Items for Sale? 

Do You Wish To Purchase Any Second Hand Uniform Items?

The school has had a number of requests regarding second hand uniforms and although our school uniform shop does not sell second hand items directly we have set up an area on the school website for parents to list their items for sale.

If you are interested in purchasing second hand uniform items perhaps you might like to check the school website under ‘Enrolments / Uniform Shop’ and see what items are listed. 

If you are a parent with an item to sell please email with your item details and photos. The school website under ‘Enrolments / Uniform Shop’ gives you more information.

St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta - Preparation for Confirmation

Registration for the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parish, Parramatta is now open for students who have completed the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. The online registration form can be found on St Patrick’s Cathedral website under the “Sacraments” tab in the section titled “Confirmation”. Alternately, please contact the sacramental coordinator Meg Gale at 

Please note that the calendar of sessions of preparation are as follows:

Confirmation 1: Monday, 24th August 7:30pm - Parent Session

Confirmation 2: Saturday, 5th September 4:30pm - Parent and Children Session

Confirmation 3: Saturday, 19th September 4:30pm - Parent and Children Session

Confirmation 4: Monday, 21st September 7:30pm - Confirmation Practice Session

Ceremony for Confirmation: Friday, 25th September 7:30pm

(Please note that the sessions of preparation are mandatory and are held on site at St Patrick’s Cathedral, 1 Marist Place, Parramatta.)

Catherine McAuley Parent Business Directory

A reminder that the school has a Catherine McAuley Parent Business Directory. This directory is a collection of parent owned businesses and is something you might want to consulate when you are next looking for a particular item or service.

If you would like to be included in the directory please fill out this form.