As the last week of term approaches Santa Sabina has continued to be a lively community for students, staff and parents. From major exhibitions, competitions and actual HSC examinations in Music, Visual Arts, Drama and Design & Technology, to voting for leadership, students have demonstrated the skills and attitudes we’ve come to expect. But parents also have had such a busy time, whether that be ferrying major works or PYP exhibits to and from school, attending meetings, and supporting their HSC and IB daughters, it is clearly time for the upcoming term break. Thank you to all of our parents and carers who continue to support the College in a myriad of ways, beyond their own children’s education. We are very grateful for the spirit of community that you foster and grow.

Exceptional demonstrations of student ability and commitment were on display in this year’s HSC Major Works for Design & Technology and Visual Arts Exhibition. The persistently high quality of these works inspires each new cohort to meet and often surpass.

The variety of works is striking – from film, to sculptures, photography, to architectural drawings and their realisation into model displays, compete with a computer simulated journeys in and around the buildings. Congratulations to all of the students and to their Visual Arts and Design and Technology students. It was fantastic to have the exhibition opened by a relatively recent graduate, Sabrina Zambetti (Class of 2013), who outlined her university journey and employment with architectural firm PMDL.

Our younger students have had outstanding success in their mathematics competitions – groups from Years 1, 3, 4 and 6 representing NSW at the National Mathematics Talent Quest won their categories. Among other commendations the judges said, ‘this is an outstanding inquiry…this is a fantastic investigation…evidence of high levels of mathematical thinking…Congratulations! This is a wonderful in-depth investigation based on a simple idea’. Well done to our mathematical whiz kids and their teachers!

The fourth annual STEM Conference for Year 7 in partnership with the University of Technology (Friday 13 September) focused on the role of  Artificial Intelligence in industry. Students participated in a variety of workshops including town planning using engineering principles, prosthetic limbs for people in developing countries, autonomous vehicles, microbit coding using Python and 3D printed solutions for problems using Tinkercad. Most importantly, all students, including those who prefer the humanities subjects, gained an understanding of how important STEM is in the world they are entering. They are connecting their learning to real world problems. This conference is another example of the benefits of partnerships and schools. We thank UTS in staging this successful and innovative annual event – it was great to see Santa ex-students amongst the UTS mentors.

Our Year 10 Food Technology class had an interesting day last week learning the ins and outs of running a food truck business. Our guest food truck was manned by the students who served each other and staff with some Friday treats which were greatly appreciated.

Our College leaders for 2019/20 have been announced and I congratulate these students who will form the next College Student Executive:

College Captain: Isobel Burkhard
College Vice-Captain: Grace Campbell
SRC Faith and Mission: Clara Elias
SRC Student Voice: Sophia Juarez
House Captain: Caitlin Zocco
Committees Captain: Francine Geronimo

Leadership is a privilege and a fantastic opportunity for growth. The lessons learnt as a student leader endure well beyond graduation.

Next week 48 of our brilliant musicians and five of their teachers are heading off on tour to the musical capitals of Europe to perform, work in masterclasses and attend concerts. Along the way, students will experience the historic and picturesque cities of Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov and Prague. On their return they will present their repertoire at a fundraising concert for St Brigid’s Church Marrickville (on 17 October) – you can expect an invitation soon and I know the church is grateful for our support.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those P&F Association Committee members who retired at their AGM last night. Outgoing President Allen Chu along with Joanna Pavan, Kim Dunlop, Domonique Roach and Leisa Henness have given the College their tireless support over several years – we are most grateful for their ‘friend raising’ and fundraising activities which benefit every Santa activity. I now warmly congratulate newly elected committee members, who include:

Belinda Civitarese – President
Daniella Di Santo –   Primary Years Social Coordinator
Bryce Wilson – Assistant Treasurer

As the students of Year 12 approach the end of their school lives, we look forward to celebrating their specific achievements at the Final Assembly next Thursday. At the evening graduation ceremony commencing with Mass in the Chapel, all students are acknowledged in the company of their families and teachers. Their HSC and IBDP exams beckon next term and their very last event as #SantaGirls is Speech Night at the International Convention Centre on 27 November. These students are well on their way to bright but challenging futures, taking their Dominican difference out into the world for the benefit of society. I wish them all well, for success in their exams and for their lives beyond the gates of The Boulevarde.

As a College we pray for each and every one of them as they take their leave from secondary schooling. We appreciate them in all their diversity, and for all that they have contributed to the ongoing story of our community. They are and will continue to be Santa girls. Thank you to their dedicated, exceptional teachers who inspire, support, and challenge our students. And to the parents, our gratitude and the gratitude of the students is immense, for working with us over the years, bringing our daughters of Dominic to adulthood.

In this Catholic Week for the Environment, we heed the words of Pope Francis:

‘As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling…We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family’.

The effects of neglecting and exploiting the environment fall heaviest on the poor. This neglect and exploitation also threaten the future of the planet and betray the trust by which we hold our world for our children and grandchildren. We will be taking action this Friday at school to draw attention to the environmental impact of plastics, and climate change more generally. All students are encouraged to make it a ‘waste-free’ day by avoiding single-use plastics in their food packaging, minimising our use of electricity on the day, and having the opportunity to hear students’ concerns about the environment.

Dr Maree Herrett