MacKillop College Newsletter
“Enabling every student to achieve the fullness of life.”
“MacKillop College will be a place that nurtures authentic, courageous, faith-filled people with a passion for learning, respect for relationships and an ability to contribute to a global community.”
Term 3, Week 10, 17 September
FAREWELL TO RETIRING STAFF
This week saw the College farewell three staff members who between them, have given 91 years of dedicated service to MacKillop College and our parish schools. Helen Gilbert, Peter Farrugia and Judy Crick, have all decided to spend more time gardening, golfing and with those they love. Not only have they each been an integral part of the College, but their families have too. We wish all of them much peace, good health and happiness and look forward to seeing them back at MacKillop from time to time. From a personal point, all three of these beautiful people have played a significant part in my career and life for the past 28 years and I thank them for their support, guidance and friendship.
Judy leaves MacKillop College celebrating 26 years. Judy commenced in the foundation year of the College (St Paul’s), back in 1995 as a Teachers’ Aide. She established wonderful relationships supporting the students with additional needs. Judy also supported the Food Technology department, before turning her hand to office administration where she continued to show kindness and empathy to all the students in her care. Judy commenced the “Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea” fundraiser for staff and students, and has raised thousands of dollars for the Cancer Council during her time at the College.
Peter has been with St Agnes’ Parish schools since 1992, commencing at St Joseph’s Regional High School when it was located in our town centre (now Kmart site). Peter has been a long standing member of the PDHPE and RE faculties and has even taught some Maths and HSIE. He has supported many sporting teams over the years, coaching and managing, and has some great memories and stories of sporting trips, camps and excursions with students and staff. In more recent times Peter has taken on the role of mentoring individuals and small groups of boys as they navigate the challenges of teenage life and high school, including sharing his love of golf to give the boys a healthy leisure activity. In his farewell speech to one group of boys, Peter reminded them, “you all have potential; you just reach it at different times, remember that, but it is up to you.”
Helen’s career began in the Diocese of Lismore at St Mary’s, Casino in 1978 before returning to the school she had attended as a student, St Joseph’s Regional High School as a Geography and RE teacher in 1983. Helen’s 38 year career in the St Agnes’ Parish Schools family has seen her teach across the various Colleges, hold many leadership roles and mentor many, many young teachers through the early stages of their career. Helen will best be remembered for her great love of teaching, her sense of humour and her ability to make every child and colleague feel known, loved and cared for. Her expertise, passion and humility to inspire and guide students to learn will be greatly missed. Helen is the colleague I have worked with for longer than any other colleague in my teaching career. She has become one of my greatest mentors, role-models and friends and I will greatly miss her banter and wisdom as I wander throughout the school and, in particular, in and out of her lessons.
Today we also farwell Juliet who joined MacKillop College this year as part of the Youth Ministry team. Juliet has offered wonderful spiritual support to the students of the College and shared her passion for the faith-formation of young people with many students over the past three terms. Marg Gobius pays further tribute to Juliet in our Evangelisation pages.
STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL
We are introducing a new sitting term for our Student Representative Council (SRC).
Commencing this year, our SRC will run from term four through to the end of term three the following year. In our Celebration of Excellence, we traditionally pass on the student leadership from the current Year 12's to the incoming group and also announce our new School Captains and Vice-Captains. This new sitting term allows us to align the announcement of SRC representatives across all years with this movement to a new leadership cohort.
MacKillop College’s 2021 – 2022 Student Representative Council will be announced to the College at our Assembly on Wednesday 6 October 2021.
To each and every member of the College community, students, staff and families, I wish you a restful and enjoyable holiday break. I thank you for your ongoing support, especially during our Blended Learning time. Stay healthy and enjoy the spring weather.
Assistant Principal Learning & Teaching
It was with great delight that we welcomed staff and students back into the classroom for face-to-face teaching this week and what a busy week it was!
NAPLAN results have been distributed this week to Year 7 and Year 9 students. We have much to celebrate as a school in both numeracy and literacy, and I encourage parents when reading reports to be mindful that this is just one snapshot of their child’s achievements.
Currently our Leader of Pedagogy, Bruce Smith is working alongside our Leader of Numeracy, Nicole Thompson, and Leader of Literacy, Patrick Byrnes to analyse the data. You may be wondering how are NAPLAN test results used?
- Students and parents may use individual results to discuss progress with teachers.
- Teachers use results to better identify students who would benefit from greater challenges or extra support.
- Schools use results to identify strengths and areas to improve in teaching programs and to set goals in literacy and numeracy.
- School systems use results to review programs and support offered to schools.
On Wednesday morning, all Year 11 students were emailed a “Change or discontinuation of subject” form for Year 12. Before completing this form, it is recommended that students wait until they have received all of their feedback from the recent assessment block so that their decision is well informed. I would also suggest that they seek advice from their parents, teachers, and our Careers Coordinator Michael Kelly before making these choices.
Alternatively, students may wish to commence the HSC course in Term four and maintain all 12 or 13 units of study until after the first HSC Assessment Task. Again I encourage them to please speak to class teachers, Michael Kelly, or myself for further guidance.
It is important to note that in some instances, changes to courses may require a change of class or classes. There is no urgency to complete these forms this term and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. These forms need to be returned to the Senior Office.
Year 10 students who are continuing at MacKillop next year will have received communication regarding their subject selections for next year. If students wish to discuss their choices next term, please do not hesitate to make contact.
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL LEARNING & TEACHING
FAREWELL TO JULIET EYLES
Juliet (Jules) started this year as one of our wonderful Youth Ministry Officers, who guide many students in their spiritual journey. Jules worked last year as a YMO in Ballina, bringing with her ideas and enthusiasm for the job.
Each week, Jules has helped Ella in running Youth Groups for various students, as well as helping to set up and lead students in Masses, prayer services and attending classes. She also spends time working within the parish helping run the Encounter Youth Group on a Sunday evening and helping out with other Parish based activities.
Jules has made a great impact on our Youth Ministry classes.
This is a reflection put together by one of our Year 9 students who explained how Jules demonstrates the Beatitude “Blessed are the clean of Heart”:
Blessed are the clean of Heart, for they shall see God.
Jules lives out this beatitude by always speaking highly of others and being honest.
Jules believes in spreading kindness and this is shown every day, when she gives compliments to and smiles at every person she sees. Whenever you see Jules you are greeted with a warm smile and an excited greeting.
Jules always speaks highly of everyone around her and is always so kind. Jules is clean of heart, specifically when we saw her at lunch time she came up and complimented us.
Jules is very clean of heart for these reasons (Dana Anderson).
Juliet is to be married at the end of this year and has taken up a position which will help her as she moves further up the coast towards the end of the year.
A huge thanks to Jules for all that she has done in Youth Ministry for MacKillop this year.
SUNDAY MASS AND GOSPEL REFLECTION
While our St Agnes' Parish Church is temporarily closed, there are still ways for everyone to access a Mass online or Gospel Reflections.
Bishop Greg continues to provide Sunday Mass online via the Diocese of Lismore YouTube channel.
Mass on Demand is accessible at CathNews – YouTube
Father Paul will continue to provide his reflections each day, Monday to Saturday, to help us through this time. To have the reflections arriving automatically in your inbox each day, please contact the parish office on the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can spend some time reflecting on the Sunday Gospel below.
LEADER OF EVANGELISATION
RETURN TO SCHOOL... AND THEN TO HOLIDAYS!
It was wonderful to note that the majority of Year 7 were able to return to school this week, ending our four weeks of Blended Learning during Lockdown. By most accounts, students and staff were very pleased to be back in the classroom and playground after such a period of isolation from each other. Lots of smiles and kind words have helped everyone reconnect.
Many thanks go to the students, their families and of course their wonderful teachers, for everyone’s efforts and engagement during this challenging time. It was gratifying to see that students were able to connect and build community as well during this time, with great engagement and enthusiasm not only in their studies, but in their PC classes during their daily Zooms. Furthermore, while some took a little while to find their Blended Learning ‘groove’, the majority of students seemed to thrive in their home schooling environment, and all should be congratulated for their efforts and commitment to their learning during this time. Big thanks to all parents and caregivers who were able to assist and support their children with their learning during this time; I’m sure it was a particularly difficult task given many of you were continuing to work remotely as well.
Best wishes to all students, families and teachers for a well deserved break from school over the next two weeks. Everyone is deserving of a relaxing break and hopefully some time away from screens and timetables! Keep safe, and have some fun.
Congratulations to the following students who have received a Silver Principal’s Award: Ryan Brumby, Aiden Finch and Ruby Menin.
Congratulations to the following students who have received a Leader of Pastoral Care Award: Summer Bink, Ryan Brumby, Paige Clancy, Eligh Clout, Aiden Finch, Jasper Hall, Chloe Kapila, Jackson Mayne, Ruby Menin (x2), Jessica Miles, Marley Nasso, Austin Pettitt, Angus Saidey and Elliot Williams.
As the year draws to a close, so it does for Year 7 as their first year of high school! It only seems like yesterday that students began their high school adventure so full of excitement, albeit also a little anxious about getting lost in such a big campus, or not making friends in a sea of new faces. Thankfully those stresses have faded and Year 7 has flourished with friendships and confidence. With only a handful of weeks before we see Christmas decorations in the stores, their first year will pass just as quickly. But oh, how they’ve grown - in confidence, maturity, and in height! I, like you, am very proud of them and their personal growth over this challenging year.
Term four will bring new learning and experiences, and in this time of Covid, possibly more challenges. I have no doubt though that Year 7 will rise to any challenge with positivity and resilience as they finish the year. They are already focussed on the excitement of some freedom of choice, with their electives for Year 8 already chosen; no doubt there will be many more positives as they progress through the term. A reminder to all students and families though, that support is available if students seem to be struggling, or are not their normal happy selves and may benefit from a positive chat and some helpful strategies. If you feel this may be beneficial for your child, please discuss this with them first, and then please contact your PC teacher so that they can organise this with the Pastoral team.
A reminder that students will not return to school with their ties for the final term, but that normal uniform expectations will still remain for the rest of the year. Perhaps if your child is requesting a change in their appearance that may affect their ability to adhere to these expectations over this holiday break, such as piercings or haircuts, you might encourage them to consider those changes for the end of the school year, leading into our summer break instead. This will give them an opportunity for self-expression and will also give hair a chance to grow or piercings a chance to heal before returning to school next year.
Through the wonders of digital technology we have become a closely connected world, with information at our fingertips where education through an ever expanding digital landscape seems limitless. When not broadening our knowledge base on the internet, we also turn to it as a far reaching, expressive, instant and engaging cyberworld of fun and communication. We use it in myriad ways to connect with each other, appreciate creativity, celebrate achievement, document milestones and give us a voice; we do so through many platforms collectively known as social media.
Did you know many social media platforms are only available to people 13 years old and over? Are you aware what social media platforms your child is engaging with? I feel confident that the majority of our young people at MacKillop College would consistently engage in social media or any online activity appropriately, however sadly, this is not always the case and our values of kindness, charity and acceptance of others seem forgotten and others can be hurt in the process.
It has been brought to my attention that there are currently a number of locally formed online social media groups who may be targeting others in an effort to ridicule or to be unkind. I would encourage all parents and carers to find some time to discuss with your children their social media experience, and whether they need your support or advice to make their accounts private or to decide if a site is suitable for them at this stage of their lives. They are probably being very appropriate in their usage, but may be being exposed to the unkind actions of a few.
I would like to advise parents and families that I will be on leave for the remainder of our school year. However, I am pleased to welcome Greg Finney to the role of Acting Leader of Pastoral Care for Year 7 in my absence. Greg has begun to meet many Year 7 students, and is eager and excited to meet and engage with many more students over the course of the term. He comes to the role with experience and enthusiasm, and I’m sure Year 7 will be in safe hands.
If parents have any pastoral concerns for your child, in consultation with your child’s PC teacher, Greg will be only too happy to help. You can contact him directly via email at email@example.com
I would like to wish Year 7 the very best for Term four, and I look forward to seeing you again in 2022! It has been a privilege to watch you develop friendships and tackle learning and challenges with grace and courage. Thank you for being such lovely humans, and remember to be kind to one another. I will miss you!
YEAR 7 LEADER OF PASTORAL CARE
The yard was full of mixed emotions this week. Some students were happy to be back at school, see their mates and catch up; some were even happy to be back in class and back into the routine of coming to school. On the other hand, some students wished for more lockdown, more sleeping in and more finishing the school day early to go to the beach for their “exercise”. Whatever the case may be, it was good to get back into routine, see each other and have some social interaction (away from Zoom).
We can all take for granted the wonderful place we live in that is Port Macquarie, Australia. Blended Learning was not ideal but we are lucky to still have the opportunity to continue the education and support from a distance at home.
I thank Year 8 students, their parents, family and friends for their patience and effort during the Blended Learning period. I hope you all have an enjoyable and restful holiday and that Year 8 come back with a focus to finish 2021 to the best of their ability.
Congratulations to Emily Kirkpatrick who has received a Leader of Pastoral Care Award.
YEAR 8 LEADER OF PASTORAL CARE
FORGIVING AND FORGETTING
We can never guarantee that life only brings us good experiences.
But we can ensure that we are not dominated by negativity and unforgiveness.
There are many things in life that should be remembered and celebrated. These may truly be regarded as gifts from God. Other things should be forgotten, particularly the sins of others against us.
Many of us have long memories. We can readily remember what others have said and done to us. Sadly, we sometimes only remember the bad things. All that was good has faded from view. A reservoir of painful memories is not an energising or life giving well to draw from. It hampers rather than helps our life’s journey.
It is only when we forgive and forget that we lighten the load by jettisoning hurt and pain that will otherwise impede us. Our healthy development towards becoming fully human requires us to let go of past hurts and celebrate the good in life. To do otherwise leads to becoming bitter and twisted - emotionally crippled. When a person truly forgives, they are also able to forget – possibly not the deed, but the painful memory of it. And it is the painful memory, particularly when it begins to fester, that undermines our own wellbeing.
As part of their study of Sacraments of Healing, Year 9 prepare a Reconciliation Examen – a prayer specifically preparing a person to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Reconciliation, the experience of being able to forgive and of being forgiven, is an important learning for all people and a necessary grace to achieve wholeness. It stands as one of the many distinctive characters and attitudes that should be present in a Catholic school and in any community calling itself Christian.
Last Saturday, September 11, saw the 20th anniversary of the tragic events in the USA, caused when passenger jet airliners were used as weapons of mass destruction and terror. I sometimes wonder what has happened in the lives of such people to makes such actions appear reasonable and justified. Both then and now the philosophy of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ fails badly. An attitude and approach solely of retaliation and without reconciliation results in a cycle of death and destruction. It is the hope of lived Christianity to break this cycle through reconciliation and repaired relationships. Young people are able to learn to reconcile with self, others, and God are a hope for the future.
Let us pray that in these continuing times of world crisis, our leaders and our future leaders search with unwavering resolution for ways to achieve genuine reconciliation.
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.
Congratulations to Lara Inman who has received a Leader of Pastoral Care Award.
YEAR 9 LEADER OF PASTORAL CARE
On Wednesday this week, some of our Year 9, 10 and 11 students signed up to listen to a virtual Career Defence Force talk.
It was a brilliant presentation by two Officers in the forces where the students could directly ask the officers questions.
The students left with some amazing career choices and pathways they can aim for. Anything from Engineering to Plumbing. We hope to run some similar in Term four for those who missed out - certainly worth spending some time to listen too.
STAGE 4-5 CAREERS COORDINATOR
As another term closes I would like to congratulate all of Year 10 on a challenging term. Each student has shown resilience, flexibility and adaptability. The students should be proud of themselves as should their parents and carers for doing a wonderful job supporting the students and teachers.
Year 10 students only have one more term of Stage 5 left. They will then move on to Newman Senior Technical College, or continue on at MacKillop College. It is important that we continue to give them the message that regardless of where they are going next year they need to stay focused on the present and get the most out of their last term in Stage 5.
I hope everyone has a restful and relaxing break.
YEAR 10 LEADER OF PASTORAL CARE
YEAR 10 PDHPE - Term Four
ALL PDHPE lessons for Term four are practical.
This means that students will be required to wear their sport uniform for every timetabled PDHPE lesson.
Please note that this includes the hat and correct athletic trainers (no Cons, Vans or skate shoes).
LEADER OF PDHPE
A huge congratulations to you Year 11. You have completed your preliminary course work. Please kick back and enjoy your holiday, you have most definitely earned it!
I look forward to seeing you again next term when we begin the HSC journey!
YEAR 11 LEADER OF PASTORAL CARE
Today's newsletter is all about expressing gratitude to you, the parents and carers of Year 12. The teachers and students at many times this year, have felt a little hard done by and frustrated but my hat goes off to you, for being present for the celebrations of success but also for bearing the brunt of all the other 'stuff'! You have tried to alleviate the stress, motivate, calm down explosive storms, congratulate, commiserate and everything in between, all while running a household, dealing with life events, working and taking care of the rest of the family. It's a big, difficult job. Many of you have reached out to me to thank me for what we have done at different times, which I greatly appreciate but the gratitude is reciprocated. Our Year 12 students have carried themselves amazingly well throughout all the change and uncertainty, they have acted with grace, and demonstrated great resilience which is a direct credit to you. Thank you for your support, thank you for often being the source of strength that keeps your child together when things get tough and thank you for supporting MacKillop as we approach the final stage of 13 years of schooling.
This final stage looks a little different this year, and you will get an email with all the specific details but there are two things you should know:
- During the holidays your child should be doing some school work every other day. A good break is going to be necessary, but it will be counterproductive for students to be doing nothing. They have to keep the knowledge present in their mind, and the best way to do that is to visit their work every couple of days.
- Term four, students will be expected to be at school during normal school times for the first three weeks (8:45am - 3:10pm). The format of those days will be detailed in correspondence to come. Week four is for all of the Term three, Week 10 important events that we didn't get to enjoy, e.g. our PC fun day, Graduation Mass and Celebration of Excellence. Week 5 will be STUVAC and Week 6 the HSC exams will finally begin!
Once again thank you for all you do, have a glorious weekend.
YEAR 12 LEADER OF PASTORAL CARE
It’s been wonderful to see and interact with our young people this week who have been happy to see and reconnect with friends, peers, classmates and teachers but I couldn’t help notice they are tired...
Blended Learning this last month and recommencing school and home routines have been demanding on all of us - teachers, students, parents and carers.
Maybe there have been times you have been impatient and critical of yourself: not having enough energy, not keeping up with emails; not eating healthy, regular meals or drinking too much coffee …
Have you ever found that you are overly critical of yourself?
Sometimes, we don’t even realise that this is what we’re doing to ourselves. Perhaps we’ve always been overly self-critical and used this as a motivation tool: to drive ourselves harder; to be the best that we can be.
But is it really helping us?
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to accept who we are and where we are… and still learn to love ourselves anyway.
This wisdom has become apparent as we live through the global pandemic. There are a lot of things beyond our control and long-held patterns of judgment, impatience, and self-criticism aren’t serving us anymore.
Self-compassion is what we need most right now.
Self-compassion can be a powerful way to cope with the most difficult situations in life, just like the COVID-19 pandemic. If it all feels overwhelming, we can admit that we’re struggling or tired and we can spend a few minutes treating ourselves with patience and concern.
When we practice self-compassion, we look at the flip side of the Golden Rule and treat ourselves the way we would treat others.
With all the patience, care, and kindness we show others, we can also show ourselves.
We can include elements of mindfulness there as well. It can help us reach a stable and healthier mindset where we acknowledge that things are difficult, but not over-identify with that state.
This means we can stop and care for ourselves and then use that moment of self-focus to recharge and continue on.
May the term holiday break and long weekend be an opportunity for self-compassion, rest and connected happiness with those who matter most.
LEADER OF WELLBEING
“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”- Martin Luther
ENSEMBLE REHEARSALS DURING LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS
Currently MacKillop College is in Level 3 restrictions as recommended by NSW Health. Unfortunately this means we are not to undertake Ensemble rehearsals or singing at the College whilst these restrictions are in place. Pending a move back to Level 2 restrictions, our Ensemble rehearsals will remain on hold in Term four.
In the meantime, I encourage students to continue to practice ensemble repertoire at home through the resources set up in STILE, and to take note of details outlined in the rehearsal schedule below. Communication to ensemble members will be made by staff through google classroom. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact your Ensemble Director or Rob Denham.
LINKS & FORMS
Please contact Rob Denham with any questions relating to the co-curricular music program at MacKillop College.
MUSIC JOKE OF THE WEEK
Why did the pianist keep banging his head against the keys? He was playing by ear.
LEADER OF MUSIC
TERM 4 SPORT 2021
Please refer to the College website for the Sport Programs for Year 7-10 Term 4 Sport.
At this stage we are still in Level 3 restrictions. If these restrictions remain in Term 4, alternative Sport arrangements will need to be made as we are not allowed off site. This will be communicated to all students at the beginning of the term.
COVID SPORTS RESTRICTIONS – UPDATE
In line with the Premier’s announcement regarding COVID-19 restrictions, unfortunately all Lismore Diocesan Sport events and CSNSW (CCC) Sport events have been cancelled for the year.
We have not received notification about the following events that were RESCHEDULED for Term 4:
- Cochrane Cup, October 13, Coffs Harbour.
- Katrina Fanning Cup (Girls Rugby League).
We understand the disappointment that may follow this announcement, however, as always, the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of the school community was at the heart of this decision.
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this challenging time.
If your child has achieved outstanding sporting results in their community sport, we would love to hear about it. Please email myself, or your child’s respective Leader of Pastoral Care, so we can acknowledge these achievements.
If you have any questions regarding sport at MacKillop College, please do not hesitate to contact me either by email or phone at the College.
LEADER OF SPORT
SPORT POLO STOCK
For your awareness, Sport Polo’s are back in stock at St Agnes' Uniform Store should they be required.
From the Mathematics Vault
Welcome to our weekly Maths Vault!
We will provide a mathematics problem for solving, with the answer published the week after underneath a new problem. Good luck!