Principal’s Update – 14 November 2019

We have some early very good news about the 2019 HSC students. Congratulations to Georgia Robinson whose HSC Textiles major work has been selected for inclusion in Texstyle, the annual exhibition of outstanding Major Textiles Projects developed by HSC Textiles and Design students to be held in early March 2020. Congratulations also to the following long list of Design and Technology students who have been nominated for possible inclusion in Shape 2019, the annual exhibition of a selection of exemplary Major Projects developed by HSC Design and Technology, Industrial Technology and Textiles and Design students: Gabriella Annetta, Alessia Aspite, Sophie Carolan, Holly Cividin, Monika Denkova, Ella Dowd, Stella Durrant, Madeleine Hill, Isabella Lo Surdo, Sabrina Orlovic, Jade Reeves, Olivia-Grace Russo, Jasmine Saba, and Esther Chang Su. Finally, congratulations to HSC Visual Arts Bettina Giusti whose body of major work, Out of Touch, has been nominated for this year’s ARTEXPRESS. 

Tuesday night’s Music Celebration Concert was outstanding. We literally saw the growth of music in the College as we ‘outgrow’ our facilities. But more importantly, we saw the musical excellence and diversity for which we have become renowned. Our youngest students right through to Year 12 performed contemporary and classical music, choral and orchestral pieces, culminating in the best rendition of Happy Birthday that I have ever had. Appreciation to all – parents, staff and students – for your amazing support of our music program.

The last term of any school year brings inevitable staff changes with retirements, resignations, and periods of leave. In this update I want to acknowledge the following staff who are moving on with either new positions or new pathways. Apart from my own retirement, the following staff are retiring. Michele Naughton, Manager of Tallong Campus, has brought great passion and leadership to this role. While that passion has not dimmed, she is looking forward to a life with her family. Cath Gallagher, PDHPE/Sport, and Mathematics teacher, is retiring after a 33-year connection to the College. After a period of Long Service Leave, Cath has decided that retirement will provide that much-needed opportunity for family and travel. In Cath’s words, ‘I have valued my long association with SSC and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I have been fortunate to have worked with many amazing people, and shared learning experiences with several thousand delightful Santa students’. Narelle Robertson, Library Technician on the 6–12 campus since October 2008, is also retiring. She is looking forward to time with her grandchildren. Narelle has provided excellent service to students and staff in the library over the past 11 years.

We have staff who are resigning to take up new opportunities and promotions and we congratulate them on their achievements. Liz Phipps, our exceptional English Teacher, Co-Head of Department and IB Theory of Knowledge expert, has been appointed as Head of English at St Aloysius’ College. Liz has been at Santa for 11 years and during that time has been Debating Coordinator (2011-2012), Assistant English Coordinator in 2015, and then the Co-Head of English since 2015. She will be very much missed by her colleagues and students but is looking forward to a new challenge and different experiences for her own career development. 

Marysa White, former Santa student, current Head of Weelya House, and teacher of History, Religious Education and Society and Culture, has accepted a promotion position at Loreto Normanhurst as Dean of Pastoral Care. This appointment reflects Marysa’s expertise and experience in pastoral care. Marysa has had a very long association with the College – apart from her student days, Marysa has been teaching here since 1997. As with Liz Phipps, she will be very much missed, but this is a great opportunity for Marysa to take on a new challenge.

Sarah Feltham, Head of Music Curriculum 6–12, has also decided to take up a new challenge at The King’s School as Head of Music. This is a big wrench for Sarah who has been connected with the College for over 20 years as a classroom teacher, peripatetic, and then Head of Department. She has escorted students on amazing trips including to Europe, and the Northern Territory.

Kathryn McKee has resigned as College Careers Counsellor to pursue other opportunities as an independent Careers Counsellor. She will be working with ‘Career Avenues’ who are engaged with Santa Sabina Year 10 careers profiling. Kathryn will also travel, study, and seek opportunities with careers counselling in the tertiary sector. Kathryn has had a long and diverse career at Santa including English teaching, Head of Kurrawa House, and inclusive education support. Kathryn is a former student of the College as well and demonstrates the best of graduate attributes #likeasantagirl. 

Lorette Quinlan, Middle Years teacher, is resigning from full-time work after her 12 years at Santa Sabina. Another former student, Lorette has always demonstrated exceptional pastoral care for her students. She has worked both at Del Monte and at the 6-12 campus, specialising as a Middle Years teacher. Lorette will continue to engage in casual teaching but enjoy the flexibility of managing this with time spent with family, particularly her granddaughter.

Maree Tozer has been on leave this year but has decided to resign her position at the end of this year. Maree commenced at the College in July 2006 and has completed 13 years of service as a PDHPE teacher, and Acting Head of Department during Maternity Leave blocks in 2009 and 2011. Maree has worked in a job-share for a number of years, and has also been involved in leading and managing sporting teams, the Central Australia Immersion, the social committee and an SRC group. In Maree’s own words, ‘Highlights for me have often been outside of the classroom, in a wilderness setting or sleeping under the stars in a swag’. Thank you Maree. You will be missed.

Julie Kadir, Head of Professional Learning 6-12, an outstanding English teacher and former Head of Department, has taken leave for 2020. Julie has been at Santa Sabina since 1994. I had the great privilege of being her partner in leading the English Department when I was first appointed to the College in 1996. She initiated the very original English and Visual Arts publication, Butterflies and Bomb Blasts, which began in the late 1990s. It was a compilation of student work from Kindergarten to Year 12. Apart from teaching generations of students, Julie is and has been a great mentor for colleagues in their professional development. Julie has made an outstanding contribution to the College.

Gabby Naylor has been teaching at Del Monte for the past two years, and is a highly respected teacher of Kindergarten children. Gabby is an ex-student and has really embraced our Dominican ethos. We wish Gabby well as she takes a new direction with her family business next year.

Samantha Newbond, Head of Teangi House, is taking leave for a year, to pursue international opportunities. Samantha is demonstrating her IB Learner Profile attributes by stepping out of her comfort zone, taking risks, and challenging herself. We look forward to welcoming her back in 2021. Paul Arkell is taking Long Service Leave in Semester 1 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back in Semester 2. We also wish Leah Kim, Mathematics teacher, all the very best as she takes maternity leave from 10 December this year. 

While we say farewell to some, we congratulate the following staff on their new promotions: Eva Guirguis will succeed Kathryn McKee as Careers Counsellor, and is ideally placed to be mentored by Kathryn for the remainder of the year. Alec Robertson and Kate Munro have been appointed as Heads of House for Teangi and Weelya respectively. They are looking forward to making strong connections with students and families in their Houses and to continue to provide exceptional pastoral care. 

Our talented Volleyball students competed in the NSW State Volleyballs Schools Cup last week with very pleasing results. This is the last of the qualifying tournaments before our teams are ranked for the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup (AVSC) on the Gold Coast from 7–15 December. We wish all our students, coaches and team managers the very best in what will be another competitive tournament.

On Monday 18 November the College will celebrate sport at the annual Sports Awards in the College Hall starting at 6:00pm. This is an opportunity for our community to recognise the outstanding achievements in sport by our boys and girls. Congratulations to all Santa Sabina College students who have participated in sport in 2019 and I encourage other students to choose sport at Santa Sabina in 2020.

I look forward to seeing families at the College Fair on 23 November, and Speech Night at the ICC on 27 November, and finally at my farewell on 29 November. What a busy November!

I close this update with a prayer for all of those who have been affected by our catastrophic bushfires. We need to continue to educate our young people and ourselves about the changing climate that is clearly having an impact now as well as into the future. Australia has always been a dry continent but scientists, farmers and firefighting experts are alerting us to a new level of concern that we ignore at our peril. It is not an ideological position. It is a scientific one. As a community committed to Veritas we seek the truth about our environment, and challenge our politicians to respond with considered and courageous words and actions. 

Today, Lord God, we join together with all Australians,
to pray for the victims of the tragic bushfires that have been burning over the past days across NSW and Queensland. 
We pray for those who have lost their lives and for their families and friends.
We pray for all those who will return to their homes to find loss and destruction.
We pray for the firefighters, police officers, ambulance officers, and emergency workers who have served so well and toiled so long in such terrible conditions.
We pray for all communities across NSW who face the threat of catastrophic fire conditions this week. 

For all these people, we ask you Lord, to grant them strength and healing, allow them to find courage and hope. 

We ask this in the name of Jesus.


Dr Maree Herrett