Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College - eNewsletter

Volume 27 Edition 3 - August 2022

Welcome to Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College eNewsletter

From the Head of College

I would like to thank you all, as a community, for your continual support in what has been an eventful and in many ways a challenging first half of the year! It has been humbling to see how both students and staff have adapted in response to such challenging times.

There is no doubt that our experience with navigating the recent pandemic prepared us for how we now manage and accept change. We became more change-capable and learnt how to re-wire ourselves to be more comfortable with and open to change. It is this mindset that has allowed our College to continue to flourish this year despite many changes in the physical surroundings and School leadership.

I would like to thank the school community for your support and understanding during remote learning in the last three weeks of term two. I must admit that I breathed a sigh of relief once all students returned to face to face learning after the holidays. I want to acknowledge the members of the executive team who worked tirelessly to ensure a contingency plan was established in the event that the new building was not ready. As we commence the second half of the school year it has been most pleasing to see the students approaching School life with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. For some a new semester presents itself as an opportunity to continue to build upon the foundations laid down in the first part of the year, while for others it is seen as an opportunity to regroup. Whatever the individual’s motivation it is imperative that they take the many opportunities on offer to them.

As the optimistic season of Spring approaches it brings new life to everything around us and offers us new starts and ideas. Perhaps it is therefore not a coincidence that the second half of 2022 will also offer our community many reasons to celebrate.

With the recent opening of the newest wing of the campus, the multi storey edifice signifies an exciting and important chapter of our development that engages K-12 across all learning spheres and incorporates a range of diverse learning, administration and seminar spaces. The building offers adaptable open plan environments that support collaborative, integrated learning. Our students and staff are very excited to move into their modern campus and it has quickly become a place that fosters a sense of pride and belonging, where our students and staff grow, learn and make new discoveries together. We could not be prouder of how our school is developing.

Parents are requested to use the main administration entrance located near the roundabout on Australis Ave for all inquiries and financial payments. Please understand that schools are very busy places and appointments must be made to meet with any staff members.

Our building program continues with ongoing renovations and a major upgrade to the existing secondary facility to ensure safety, reliability and longevity of all our school assets. This building is receiving a complete interior and exterior renovation that is estimated to be completed by year’s end. The move into the new building by primary classes is dependent on the installation of handrails purpose designed for junior students. From the outset this may seem straight forward however we are dependent on a number of external entities and a date is unknown at this stage.

I would like to congratulate Ms Margi, Ms Saleh and Mrs Hanna on the recent birth of healthy babies and send warm blessings to the proud parents! We said farewell to Head of Teaching and Learning, Mr Joseph at the end of term 2 who decided to move on for family reasons. We thank Mr Joseph for all his work at St Mark’s and wish him well in his new role. We welcome Mr Morgan who will take on COS, HSIE and English in the secondary school and Mr Hanna who is looking after Year 6 for Ms Margi.

As parents we all want our children to grow into kind, ethical, resilient and active citizens. The fact is that many of the experiences that support such growth take place outside of the classroom. Educational research reveals that camps and outdoor education programs are important opportunities for great educational learning and personal development. They also play a key role in supporting student wellbeing. The College Camping and Outdoor Education Program is a highlight of the year that takes place during Week 10 of Term 3. The focus is on building interpersonal and intrapersonal skills such as independence, resilience, leadership, communication and respect for others. While it may be tempting for parents to dismiss this as an irrelevant learning opportunity or an early start to the holidays please be advised that term 3 finishes on Friday the 23rd of September. It is important to note that the Camping and Outdoor Program is not optional attendance and is booked from year to year along with transport and staff requirements therefore refunds will not be available should your child not attend.

I would like to formally thank our wonderful students for all of their hard work and efforts. I am privileged to lead such an amazing staff team and thank you for your continued dedication. I appreciate the work you do to provide our students with a rich, extensive curriculum in and beyond the classroom. On behalf of the staff I thank all parents for allowing us to share with you the privilege of educating your child, we consider it an honour to work in partnership with you.

Lastly, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to take on the acting Head of College role at here at St Mark’s College. This is a wonderful school and I am honoured to be part of this warm and caring community.

God Bless

Mrs Deborah Grohala

Acting Head of College

From College Chaplain Rev Fr George Nakhil

Saint Mary: A True Model For All Mankind

Welcome to School Term 3 “The Theotokos term” which always includes the blessed fast of St Mary, wishing you all many returns of the blessed fast and a joyous feast.

The fast of the Virgin St. Mary is a wonderful and blessed spiritual opportunity to meditate on the virtues of the Holy Virgin Mary. She is a treasure of virtues and a true model for the body of Christ.

The Holy Virgin St. Mary has had certain characteristics, which made her the model for all of us. She was the first one to receive Christ and has become the model of what we can become in Christ. Amid very difficult circumstances, St Mary had fully surrendered to God’s call. God does not force His will on us, and He certainly did not force His will on St. Mary. But her response to God was, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). She stood as the greatest example of humanity’s free response to God’s offer of salvation. St. Mary’s life revealed to us that our life on earth is not random nor meaningless, but it certainly has a perfect purpose and a precious value when we are submissive to His good will. The Blessed Virgin is our connection to humanity at its best and purest forms. Thus, she is not just a representative of women before God, but she is the icon of all mankind responding to God.

When we celebrate the feast of the Theotokos, we are celebrating facts of what our lives become in Christ through the Holy Spirit. We all have Christ in us by the Holy Spirit; We are all temples of God, and have a share and inheritance with all the saints in the Kingdom of God if we live the life of purity, submission and holiness, which St. Mary lived.

Primary School - Mrs Silvia Nada

Welcome back to Term 3, Theotokos Term. It is great to be back at school again following the winter break and despite the obvious uncertainties, I am quite sure it will be fabulous! I am excited for the many opportunities for learning and connecting that I know the children will experience. The teachers and wider staff team have all been working very hard to plan and prepare for the term ahead. I am very grateful for their passion, dedication and commitment to the children’s learning and wellbeing.

Kindergarten to Year 6 Curriculum

Throughout the year, Parents/Guardians will have access to:

  • Progress Report in Term 1 and Term 3
  • Semester One Report and Semester Two Report
  • Formal parent teacher interview at the end of term 1 and at the end of term 3

Ongoing communication is encouraged and welcomed by all the staff 


Assessment is the process of gathering and interpreting evidence to make judgements about student learning. It is the crucial link between learning outcomes, content and teaching and learning activities. Assessment is used by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are at in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there. The purpose of assessment is to inform teaching, improve learning, help students achieve the highest standards they can and provide meaningful reports on students ’achievement. 

Term Topics and Programs

At the beginning of this term all parents will receive a summarised overview of the topics that will be taught in each subject, key dates and homework expectations.

Junior School Protocol

Parents are highly encouraged to contact the child’s classroom teacher to discuss any concerns, this has to be

done through contacting the office to organise an appointment or via class dojo. If the matter is unable to be resolved, you may contact Mrs Shehata. If the matter is still unresolved then it should be escalated to Mrs Nada.

If you still feel that the matter is not resolved, you may contact the College to organise an appointment with the Head of College.

How to Encourage Independence in Your Child

Source: can encourage independence in their children in many ways. There are many steps you can take to encourage self-reliance.

Learning to Be Independent Thinkers

Encourage your child to tell you what they think about issues. When you really listen to them, you are showing them that their opinions matter to you and that their ideas and thoughts are valuable and worthwhile.

When you disagree about an issue, it's a great opportunity for kids to learn how to debate and speak their opinions respectfully, while learning how to see the positive aspects of other people's opinions.

Curriculum Corner 7 - 12

Director of Teaching & Learning - Mrs Magy Bestawros

Welcome to Semester 2 - Year 12 begin HSC Trials

Term 3, is the beginning of Semester Two, the second half of the academic year, and what a busy beginning it has been! All staff were excited to greet our students back in the classroom, and the resumption of face to face teaching. This term is a very busy curriculum term and it begins with the Year 12 class of 2022 commencing their HSC Trials. The Higher School Certificate Trials are a wonderful opportunity for students to practice examination skills in anticipation of the final exams that begin in October. Our Year 12 showed resilience and strength as they were greeted by Fr George, House Patrons, Heads of Faculty and upcoming student leaders. Keep at it Year 12, you have an army behind you!

Year 11 Introduction to Community Service

Year 11 upcoming leaders serve our Year 12s breakfast, refreshments and words of encouragement. This is the SMC Spirit!

Year 11 students are currently working and preparing to participate in the College's Community Service Program. They spend three days at the end of this term working with those in the community who are marginalised and in need of extra support. The aim of the program is to give students a chance to develop an understanding of the important role that service plays in the life of Christians and to develop their skills of empathy, compassion and initiative. Through completing the program students will also get to experience being in a workplace environment and get an understanding of the different issues and needs that exist within the broader Australian community. 

Year 9 & 10 Law Society of NSW - MockTrial Competition

Mock Trial is not an easy challenge and each of the students need to display a multitude of skills to succeed, yet our students manage to display these skills effortlessly. We wish them the very best of luck as they compete against the nation's best in the elimination rounds. 

Please congratulate the team when you see them. 

St Mark’s Mock Trial Team brought home another WIN against Cecil Hills High School - keeping them undefeated and now proceeding to the Elimination Finals - HISTORY BEING MADE - this level has not been achieved in over 10 years! We congratulate Mrs Hanna, for her coaching and overseeing of the Mock Trial team! Go SMC

Awards Assembly

Every fortnight Mrs Bestawros is excited to award students with Course Excellence Awards, Student Service Awards, Extra Curricular Awards, House Patron Awards & Awards for Most Improved. This term began with an assembly that saw Mrs Bestawros and the House Patrons lead the Secondary Assembly and awarded students in a range of areas, including Academic Course awards for students who achieved above 95% in any task across their subjects throughout Semester 1. Over 157 awards were presented, this is phenomenal.

Additionally, Mrs Metira & Mr Sidhom awarded the students who participated in the NSW Science and Engineering challenge run by ANSTO & Newcastle University last term - St Mark’s students were extremely competitive in this exciting science and engineering venture and came home as place holders! Well done to Mrs Metira and Mr Sidhom in harnessing our students' potential!

Service Awards for exemplary Christian Service were also presented to worthy Year 11 recipients who showed unwavering Christ-like service in acts of kindness for their College. Well done to: Mariz Fayek, Sara Gerges, Mariam Khouzam, Anthony Louka, Youseff Ghobrial, Ellanora Saeed , Joyce Benyamen

Year 12 Fundraiser

Year 12 students held a Sausage Sizzle for K -12; fundraising for their upcoming final school events! What an atmosphere of collegiality, collaboration and love. Huge success and wonderful leadership and guidance by Mr Armanyous. Well done Year 12

Important Dates

Term 3 - 2022

  • HSC Trial Examinations Week 3 - 5
  • Year 12 COS Retreat Week 5
  • ASSISA Athletics Week 5
  • Immunisation Program Year 10 & 11 Week 5
  • ICAS - English, Maths & Science Competitions Weeks 5-8

  • Meerkat Productions K-6 Week 6
  • Zoo Excursion Year 7 Week 6
  • Senior School Athletics Carnival Week 6
    • St Marina Feast Day Week 6

    • Stage 3 Personal Development Week 6
    • Year 11 Semester Two Exam Block Week 7 & 8
    • Year 12 Graduation Ceremony Week 9
    • Camping Program Stages 2 & 3 Week 10
    • Swim program Year 7 Week 10
    • Camping Program Year 8-10 Week 10
    • Year 11 Service Learning & Camp Week 10

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