Principal’s Update – 20 June 2019

Our 125 Celebration Concert, A Golden Thread, at Sydney Town Hall on 14 June, was a magnificent tribute to all that Santa Sabina represents. Artistic Director Mr Timothy Chung wrote that “our golden thread has weaved its way through the College’s rich and proud history up to now and will do so in the future”. Performing for an audience that included Dominican sisters, staff, current and former families, alumni, our students rose to the challenge of performing a diverse and complex repertoire of instrumental and choral music remarkably well. The collaborative and concerted efforts that resulted in this performance reflect much about our philosophy of learning more generally. Students learn by doing, they learn through meeting complex and challenging tasks with expert guidance and support of their teachers, and they benefit from the professional partnerships that enhance the learning experience. In this case, the partnerships with Australian and international composers who created beautiful and meaningful music as a tribute to Santa Sabina demonstrated to students so much about the creative process. As each composer talked about his or her work they stressed the research they did to honour the brief given to them, the motivation for creating music that was relevant and uplifting, and the pleasure they received in hearing our students perform their compositions. I take this opportunity to again thank Tim Chung as Artistic Director and all of the Music staff and tutors for the vision and its realisation. I also thank the broader staff community who contributed to the success of the concert through unfailing support. The student performers certainly deserve commendation, and it was inspiring to see brilliant individual performances by Angela Kim on piano, Elizabeth Chun on violin, Rosie Bennett on vibraphone and Nicole Ghi on organ, as well as the different ensembles and lead instrumentalists and choristers. All of our Years 4-8 students should feel very proud of the role they played in the concert, and the opportunity to perform for such a significant event.

The Primary Years “Festival of Music” begins this week and will continue in the final week of term. Ms Danielle Abbott, Primary Music Coordinator, writes that the Festival began “with an absolutely delightful vocal concert in the Library. It was a beautiful opportunity to see the growth of our young singers, not only in regards to their voices, but personally. While voice lessons are not absolutely essential for children at a very young age, many of our children have gained far more than the development of their vocal technique through this opportunity. To see their listening skills, confidence, self-worth, resilience and determination grow across their journey has been very special”.

The difficult but exciting task of choosing HSC or IBDP and the subjects for each is the current challenge for Year 10 students. An information night for parents was held last night, and it is just part of an extended process whereby students will be supported to make the best choice for them. Our strong advice continues to be to know yourself well as a learner, to identify and appreciate your strengths and work towards them, and to choose a pathway that truly motivates you. However, do not limit yourself. There will always be areas of the curriculum that require more effort and persistence than others. It is not a reason to avoid particular subjects, but to enrol in them fully prepared to work hard and seek assistance.

In other news around the College, our Science students once again competed in the RACI Titration Competition at the University of Sydney (students listed below), where one team placed second with a solid score. They will most likely be attending the Nationals again. This is the second year in a row that our students have done so well. The winning team included Charlotte Fonseca, Charlotte Lowe and Antonia Moulos. Charlotte Lowe actually produced a perfect score! Congratulations to these girls and to all of those who participated, as well as to their teachers who helped prepare the students.

“Science” travels back and forth across The Boulevarde with Year 1 once again enjoying Science lessons in the laboratories on the big campus.

The Justice Journey focus on the impact of plastics on our environment locally and more broadly continues this term with some “handiwork” on each campus. Students will be identifying our current usage of plastics, particularly single-use plastics, and discussing effective alternatives. We will ensure photographic evidence of their research into our own practices that will be shared with you early next term.

During the past term students have represented the College in a variety of representative sporting competitions while we have also had hundreds of our students compete at the various competitions for Netball, Hockey, Football, Basketball and Volleyball each Saturday and Sunday. There have been a few outstanding students who have excelled in these events and now have been selected to higher honours:

  • Renee Lewis and Nicolette Donofrio have been selected to compete for Australia at the Oceania games for Athletics – an amazing achievement for these two young women.
  • In Football, Ailish McDonagh and Kaitlin Kiparizov have been selected for the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges (NSWCCC) team.
  • In Basketball Alana Goodchild has been selected for the NSWCCC Basketball Team/NSW All Schools Team.
  • In Volleyball Chloe Devine, Chloe Hatcher, Jessica Criss, Lara Muirhead and Teagan McDonnell were selected for the NSWCCC Volleyball team.
  • Florence Ata has been selected to play for the Inner West Rugby team.
  • Maggie Farrer, Kate Farrer and Harlow Elsibai have been selected for Inner West Cross Country.
  • Annie Farrer, Madeleine Rudd, Alexandria Kalamvokis, Isabella Mardini, Renee Lewis and Cate Wheadon competed as part of the Catholic Girls Schools Secondary Sports Association (CGSSSA) team at the Catholic Schools Cross Country championships at Eastern Creek.

Best wishes to the many students participating in the NSW Volleyball Schools Cup at Olympic Park this week, on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 June. This tournament serves as qualification for the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup.

We have also had a record number of students who have registered on the Combined Catholic Colleges website to be considered for representative sports honours: a total of 77 Year 7–12 students and 13 Primary students have registered.

As this is my last Principal’s Update for the term, I would like to wish the staff and students participating in the Central Australia immersion and the Geography students heading to the Great Barrier Reef well on their forthcoming trips.

As today is World Refugee Day and as a Catholic Dominic community, we take time to reflect on the suffering of so many people around the world, and particularly of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru languishing without hope or any certainty of their future. Please take the time to visit the UNHCR and the Refugee Council link to explore what actions you and your family could take to stand alongside refugees. St Vincent de Paul offers our Catholic perspective on this world crisis.

Let us pray together… As I face you in prayer, God of Compassion,
I remember my country’s words:
Send them back or Stop the boats.
Then I fear, not your anger
But the steady gaze of boundless love and unlimited compassion that impel me to hear
Jesus’ command:
Love one another, as I have loved you
Or Pope Francis’ call to open our hearts
To a universal communion which excludes nothing and no one.
Daring to step into such relationship,
I pray for those forced to leave family, home and all they hold dear; may they find safe passage and helping hands.
I pray for an end to the wars and oppression that forced them to leave;
I pray that those who welcome them are blessed in abundance.
This we ask in the name of Jesus your Son,
In whom we are no longer strangers.

(Source: Social Justice Catholic Council)

Dr Maree Herrett