Principal’s Update – 22 November 2018

As the academic year draws to a close, it is a reminder that we are about to enter the liturgical season of Advent. During the four weeks of Advent, commencing 2 December, we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth through prayer and reflection. And amid the flurry of Christmas preparations, we look for practical ways to observe the holiness of the season in our everyday lives. One of the ways at Santa Sabina College that we will be preparing for Advent is through sacred music and readings in the College Chapel on Friday 30 November. Attendance at this by parents and students is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our shared faith in a context of great beauty and holiness.

It is certainly a term of significant events. Last week our spectacular Celebration of Music involved student musicians from Years 1 to 11 who performed across the secondary campus in venues including the Chapel and the Hall. I warmly congratulate Mr Chung and all the performers and the Music staff who had all worked so hard to prepare for this wonderful concert, and to share their gifts. This video captures some of the atmosphere.

Our Chamber Choir, Stage Band, Keyboard and Brass Ensemble were busy again on Tuesday entertaining VIP guests at the Official Opening of Siena Centre Stage 2. Our stunning, light-filled transformation of the learning spaces underneath the hall was funded by our generous donors, as well as by a Federal Government Capital Grant for $500,000. Both donations and the grant contributed significantly to the overall cost of this part of the Siena building. We were pleased to welcome ex-student and local member for Reid, the Hon. Craig Laundy MP, to officiate at the opening. Representatives of the P&F, Dominican Ex-Students’ Association, DEA, Sisters, staff and all of Year 11 were also involved in the opening. Our College Captains, Kate Coyne and Rafqa Touma, chaired the proceedings with great dignity, and our guests greatly enjoyed their tours of the centre afterwards. We are now working towards Stages 3 and 4 of the Siena Centre which will be the focus of our fundraising in 2019. Your financial support for the improvement of facilities for our students is gratefully anticipated.

Congratulations to our Writers’ Club on winning the SAE ATOM Student Award for their entry THE NAVIGATOR. These Middle Years students collaborated to create a digital student newspaper and were supported by Ms Rachel Duke and Ms Angela Bunquin from the English Department, as well as from Ms Rosanne Sukkar one of our leading Technology teachers. The team’s editorial provides insight into their theme of empowering girls and women to take their rightful place as equals in the world:

Dear Reader, Our team presents to you the first issue of “The Navigator”. It’s not as formal as student newspapers you might have seen in the past, but it’s here to help you navigate through the labyrinth of life, towards your bright futures as young women. In this edition we are exploring a wide variety of female experiences; advances in female fashion, intriguing short stories, unique poetry, inspirational women and tips and tricks for high school. Sometimes, the reason people aren’t feminists, is not because they don’t care about society’s faults. Rather, that there aren’t enough role models for them. We want to be role models for each one of you. It’s our way of giving back to a community that helped us to thrive as young feminists. We have endeavoured to ensure that this newspaper can guide you towards a future and expose you to issues in your communities. Our future is a product of today so it’s important that we never stop moving forward, as a society, as women, as a school, and as individuals.

The awards were announced in Melbourne and while our girls had plans to be there, Melbourne fog prevented the flight going ahead. However this did not dim their excitement, as they received the news of their win, and the six iPads that were awarded to them. The members of the Santa Sabina Writers’ Club include: Ruby Bron (Year 7), Preethika Mathan (Year 7), Annie Farrer (Year 6), Emma Carroll (Year 7), Francesca Bavaro (Year 7), Charlotte Capaldi (Year 8), Sonya Jayatillake (Year 8), Hyojae (Eunbie) Park (Year 8), Ellie Nguyen (Year 7), Oriana Chan (Year 9), Francine Geronimo (Year 9), Jacqueline Leung (Year 9), Olivia Bishara (Year 8) and Chiara Bianchi (Year 8). Congratulations girls!

I am very much looking forward to celebrating the holistic achievements of students in Years 6 to 12 this evening at Speech Night in the Sydney Town Hall. As usual this will be a joyful, musical and colourful celebration. It’s also the final occasion for us to pay tribute to our Year 12s, who will be honoured with a procession in that iconic Sydney landmark. The Primary Years have their own academic celebration at Speech Day next week, on 30 November. I am also looking forward to our Sports Awards evening on 27 November, and our Community Carols under the stars on 5 December. I hope to see many of you at some or all of these enjoyable events.

We wish our Beach Volleyball students all the best as they compete in the NSW State Beach Volleyball championships at Manly on Friday. Fourteen students will be competing against the best in the state for their age titles. Olivia Porter has been selected to trial in the Women’s Big Bash League (Cricket) on Friday at Blacktown. She is one of only a handful of young talented female cricketers to be given this opportunity and we wish her well in her pursuit of a NSW cricket contract.

Three Santa Sabina students have been nominated to receive Blues at the 2018 presentation to be held in early February. The following students have been outstanding athletes in their own right and deserve the accolade.

Angelina Smerdely
Stephanie Muirhead
Olivia Porter

Congratulations to our fine athletes!

Ms Sarah Tynan Head has resigned from her position as Head of Pastoral Care 6-12, and has been appointed to the position of Director of Immersive Learning at MLC school. We congratulate Sarah on this position but are sad to see her leave. We thank her for all that she has achieved this year, including leading the Solomon Islands Immersion with Year 11. Sarah will be leaving the College in early March 2019.  We wish her all the best for her future endeavours. From March 2019 our Head of Pastoral Care will oversee the continuity of pastoral care P-12 while retaining specific leadership for Years 6-12. As with all leadership positions, this role liaises closely with Heads of School, the Head of Teaching and Learning, and the Director of Middle Years. So we are currently advertising the position of Head of Pastoral Care P-12. This change reflects the importance of the pastoral care dimension of the College.

Every year, the Pope asks for our prayers for a specific intention each month. Pope Francis’ prayer intention for November is “In Service of Peace”. We pray that the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.

Lord, God of peace, hear our prayer!

Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be “brother” or “sister”, and our way of life will always be that of Peace. Amen

Enjoy these last few weeks of the school year!

Dr Maree Herrett