Principal’s Update – 9 May 2019

The creativity of Santa Sabina students and staff has been expressed in multiple and diverse ways in these first two weeks of term. It has also been accompanied by great acts of generosity. In a world where we are often saturated with bad news, we need to take the time to look for the good and to rejoice. In a school, it is not hard to find joy and we need to share that joy regularly. So here are some creative moments for us all to savour from students across the College.

Year 2 students performed last week at the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) Conference for the Conference Opening at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney. It included recorders, cellos and violins and singing and movement too – lots of fun and creativity. This performance was derived directly from their music curriculum and lessons this year.

Our Middle Years students in Year 6 have been working on sustainability projects in their Unit of Inquiry, with a focus on Global Footprints. As well as the assistance of Ms Rosanne Sukkar as one of our Technology leaders, and their teachers, we have had students from the University of Technology (including some Santa ex-students) collaborate with the class to incorporate a range of technology to solve environmental challenges. Year 6 have designed, coded and prototyped their products, showcasing them to their parents this week. One group addressed the challenge of “Reducing Landfill” through designing and coding a robot that allows waste material to be collected and turned into fuel. The robot has sensors that can identify waste material and actuators that allows the robot to pick up the waste and store it into a compost like bin. The rubbish that is collected from the environment is turned into fuel.  Another group were concerned about the increasing levels of pollution from the manufacturing and distribution of textiles. Students designed a bin that allows a user to recycle second-hand clothing and in return receive a new item of clothing, that has been recycled by another user. The solution has a focus on using a shared economy to solve the over production of textiles. Students coded a Micro:bit that was connected to a bin prototype, if a user pressed Button A they could insert clothing into the bin. If the user pressed Button B  they they could collect a new item of clothing.

So technology is being leveraged for very significant purposes rather than just being an end in itself.

Similarly, I had the great delight to visit Year 1 as I’d been noticing Ms Zeina Chalich’s fantastic tweets about the coding and creating that they’ve been doing. When we speak about technology, it is really important to look at this positive aspect of students as creators and not just zombie consumers fixated on devices. None of us want that for our children. Instead we have Year 1 successfully building and coding a froglet, for example using Lego robotics, with the extension task of “transforming it into a frog”. In this same Year 1 class that I visited, their artwork was on display, featuring both naturalistic, and “abstract” self-portraits. The children’s excitement when they talked about their artwork and their STEM was infectious. Our Primary teachers are talented and creative professionals, and really enrich the learning environment for all of our students.  

Our second IB Diploma Programme cohort in Year 11 participated in Relay for Life last weekend at Cronulla for their CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) project. Adopting the name “IBelievers”, the IB girls started working on this CAS Project from their very first CAS lesson last term. Our IBDP Coordinator Ms Julie Harris joined them for their last section of the relay, and her words of commendation deserve quoting:  

“What an inspiring group of students and such a supportive set of parents. The rain abated until the last 10 minutes and still, they walked, laughed and danced around the track. As a group, they raised just over $11,000 for this worthy charity. Such wonderful ambassadors of the College”.

The generous contributions of our ex-students made our careers evening, “Beyond Year 12” for our current senior students invaluable. This networking between current and ex-students has been a feature of our seniors’ experience since the 1960s. On Tuesday night, 35 ex-students from a range of careers participated as mentors, sharing their experiences of both post-school studies and career choices.

The stand-out messages for current students were to take every opportunity at school and beyond, engage with mentors to encourage and guide you, and that it is never too late to change direction, and pursue new dreams and goals.


Congratulations to the following students for their remarkable representative sporting achievements. Nicolette Donofrio (hurdles) and Renee Lewis (3000m) have been selected to represent Australia in the Oceania Athletics Championships to be held in June at Townsville, Queensland. This is an outstanding achievement for both Nicolette and Renee who have been tireless in their pursuit of their chosen sport.

Alana Goodchild (Basketball) has been invited to attend the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra to train with the U16 Australian squad who will then be selected to the Asian Championships. We wish Alana all the best in her selection.

As we celebrate mothers this Sunday, I take the opportunity to wish all of our mothers, grandmothers and maternal figures in our life a very blessed day.

In the month of the Rosary it is fitting that we look to Mary, mother of God, as inspiration for the love and the great courage that she demonstrated. This is no better expressed than in the Magnificat – the Canticle of Mary taken from Luke’s Gospel (1:46-55). In the Magnificat, Mary has gone to see her cousin, Elizabeth, expressing her joy that Elizabeth too is expecting a child. Mary proclaims the Lord’s greatness with characteristic humility and grace.

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

Dr Maree Herrett