9:15am Primary Assembly
Acknowledgement of Country
From the Principal
Welcoming our new Reception students for two visits to the College this fortnight has been an absolute joy. There was a visible sense of wonder and excitement, as well as a few nerves, as the children made new friends, connected with their teachers and prepared to embrace all that school life has to offer. We look forward to getting to know our new families in 2023.
Last night we bid our final farewell to the Class of 2022 at their Graduation Dinner at Donato Reception Centre. There was a shared sense of pride between staff and families at the impressive group of young women graduating this year. We know that regardless of their ATARs, these women will go on to make a difference in the world, their lives underpinned by the Mercy values that rest at the heart of a Mercy education.
One of our graduates from the Class of 2010, Dr Sarah Scholten, has been named amongst the 60 Superstars of STEM for 2022. Sarah’s work as a researcher at the Institute for Phonics and Advanced Sensing at Adelaide University is inspirational. She has stayed connected with SAC and has recently spoken to the Year 12 Physics class about career pathways in STEM. They say that “you can’t be what you can’t see”, but with visible role models like Sarah sharing their stories, our students are ready to take on the world.
The inaugural Neville Stapleton Poetry Award was presented last week to two students who share Neville’s passion for poetry. Neville’s family instituted these awards to honour Neville’s long association with the College, both as a teacher and the College archivist. Neville’s wife Phil presented the awards to Gislene (Year 9) and Daniela (Year 10) who won the Middle and Senior School Awards respectively. We are so thrilled that Neville’s love of poetry will continue to inspire our students for years to come.
Year 4 and Year 7 students celebrated their musical achievements through the Immersion Programs at the College this week. Students have the chance to learn brass and woodwind for a semester and we can see that the experience is inspiring many more students to take up these instruments. We look forward to showing you how our orchestra and ensembles have developed as a result of increased student participation at SAC Spectacular next week.
Year 6 students were finally able to enjoy their camp at Victor Harbour this week. Teachers reported how positive the students were, responding to every challenge with energy and enthusiasm. They are a cohort of students who have truly led the primary school by example this year and we are all proud of the way they represent the College. We look forward to wishing them well in their secondary education at next week’s Year 6 Graduation Mass at the Cathedral.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our end of year events. We hope that you enjoy seeing your children shine on the stage of the Entertainment Centre next Tuesday night as much as we do!
Ms Paddy McEvoy
The National History Challenge
Causes and Consequences
The National History Challenge is a research-based competition for Australian students from Year 1-12. It gives students a chance to be historians, researching world history, examining Australia’s past, investigating their community or exploring their own roots. The theme of the 2022 National History Challenge was “Causes and Consequences”, with four of our students being selected as finalists this year. Two Year 10 students, Eleanor Buckham and Emma Borgmeyer, took the opportunity to extend their regular class essays on World War Two to enter this competition. Eleanor entered the “Asia and Australia” category, examining how Australia’s relationship with Japan changed as a result of the 1942 bombing of Darwin. Emma’s entry into the “Using Primary Sources” category was a report that examined internment camps in Australia during World War Two. Year 11 student, Crystal Iluno, was a finalist in the “History of Sport” category, with an essay on the commodification of Australian sport. Year 12 student, Mia Konopka, won two categories: “Democracy Matters” and the Year 11/12 Category, with an essay evaluating the impact of Gough Whitlam on Australian democracy. Mia was also selected as the SA Young Historian of the Year, and will travel to Canberra, chaperoned by History teacher, Elizabeth Heuzenroeder, for the National Presentation Ceremony at Parliament House. We congratulate all four of these students on their excellent achievements.
Ms Elizabeth Heuzenroeder
Visitors with Tales of Success
Timor-Leste is a country in Southeast Asia, approximately one hour’s flight away from Darwin. The country has a population of 1.3 million people and it has the highest rate of poverty in Southeast Asia. Before the pandemic began, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that, “one in five Timorese households were receiving payments from overseas.”
The connection between Australia and Timor-Leste, historically, is a very close one. Australia is Timor-Leste’s largest development and security partner, and we have been at the fore in providing COVID-19 assistance.
Earlier this month the St Aloysius College community met three Timorese women who brought this connection even closer to home. Alancia, Belizia and Tinisia, all in their mid-twenties, visited St Aloysius College over several days and forged bonds with students and staff; teaching us and proving to us that there is great hope for the people of Timor-Leste.
These young women were very small children when Timor-Leste gained independence in 2002, and despite having experienced personal challenges, they are well on the way to success. Alancia is training to become a petroleum engineer, Belizia, a teacher, and Tinisia, a nutritionist. In these careers, they will be able to provide solutions for critical issues their people face and actively participate in the economic and social progression of Timor-Leste.
During their visits to SAC, Alancia, Belizia and Tinisia enjoyed observing the way that teachers and students interact, and the learning materials on hand. Belizia shared, “we went to a Physics class taught by Mr Arman. He had a special way of engaging the class and he helped everyone to understand things easily. He used classroom resources. Our classrooms in Timor-Leste did not have them. Sometimes three children have to sit on one chair.”
One of the highlights of their visit to SAC, the trio agrees, was a discussion with the incoming cohort of Year 12 SRC Executives. This discussion gave our students the opportunity to learn about a youth development program named JDN, which, under the guidance of SAC Old Scholar, Bernadette McEvoy (Class of 1977), they are actively involved with.
Bernadette has lived and worked in Timor-Leste for the last nine years and is on the Board for JDN. Since 2017, she has been bringing young adults like Alancia, Belizia and Tinisia to visit Adelaide and share their advocacy work. JDN was officially registered as an NGO in 2015, with a view to, “developing an understanding of young people’s views about unemployment problems, other youth issues, and possible solutions.”
During their lunchtime discussion with SAC’s student leaders, Alancia, Belizia and Tinisia spoke about issues of gender equality in Timor-Leste, and the campaigns facilitated by JDN to raise awareness and educate others within the community.
“One big challenge we have is harassment in the microlet. The microlet is like a mini-bus, with 12 seats, but they can be crowded. It is a main form of public transport. To try and stop the harassment, we spoke with the Minister of Transport in Timor-Leste and we created a Code of Conduct that the microlet drivers can use to stop harassment [on their bus]. We also put signs inside the microlet, we made stickers and t-shirts, and JDN is empowering more women to become microlet drivers,” Alancia explained.
“We were impressed by the confidence of the SAC students to use their voice about things that matter to them,” Tinisia added. “We found the students so confident and they asked us questions, when we had thought they might be shy. But they asked questions and we asked them questions too.”
Speaking of their connection with Bernadette, Alancia said, “we call her ‘Mana’ Bernie which is a term of respect. She tells us, ‘go outside of your comfort zone.’ She guides us and helps us improve our speaking and leadership skills. She listens to us and says: ‘what steps do you need to take to produce an action?” She doesn’t give us a plan, she just says – ‘we have a nutrition project – you should plan something.’ This is empowering. For example, Mana Bernie does not give us the recipe, but she gives us the ingredients to cook with.”
We look forward to keeping in contact with Alancia, Belizia and Tinisia and learning more about the work of JDN as they continue to pursue pathways of progression for youth in Timor-Leste.
For more information:
- Timor-Leste country brief | Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (dfat.gov.au)
Ms Maddie Kelly
Marketing & Communications Team
Student Leaders for 2023
We are very pleased to announce the following Student Leaders for 2023. We are very proud of all students who applied and showed a willingness to involve themselves in students' leadership at SAC.
Ms Jacqui Mcilroy
Deputy Principal (Pastoral Care)
Sports Captains 2023
Chemical Reactions in Year 9
Whenever we study a Chemistry topic, students ask “Can we make something blow up?”, so last week we did exactly that. In our study of Chemical Reactions, we have recently been learning about different properties of acids and bases and where these are found around the home. In an adaptation of the well-known volcano experiment, students in 9JV poured vinegar into a zip-lock bag, partially sealed it, wrapped some bicarb soda in some clean, dry toilet paper and carried the two separately outside to an open space. When ready, they inserted the paper bundle into the plastic bag, quickly sealed it and dropped it on the ground, standing back. The bags literally “blew up” as they filled with carbon dioxide gas and then burst open due to the pressure.
Ms Sandra Eustace
Year 3 Bilingual Storytellers!
Our 3EG students were given the challenge of writing a 'Bilingual story', partly in Chinese and partly in English - a culmination of four terms of learning including food, transport, introduction and sea animals. They read a model story by the teacher and in teams of two or three they then wrote their version. All students in the classroom rose to the challenge!
Ms Elaine Angwin
"We can translate all the Chinese in the story to English. Me and Simona worked incredibly well in our Chinese and shared our ideas with each other. It was very fun working with her." Nancy Mitchell
"It was fun learning Chinese. It really helps me because I might live in China." Lucie Gibbon
"We worked together doing half Chinese, half English. We can also translate the Chinese into English. It was really fun sharing ideas." Simona Lynn
"I liked working together and helps me with my pronunciation." Xanthe Noke
"I really liked writing this story and I love Chinese." Esther Haines
It is always with pride and reverence that students embrace the opportunity to participate in Remembrance Day activities.
This year, carrying the honour of supporting the 2/43rd Battalion, for whom SAC is custodian of over 200 remembrance crosses and their ceremonial flag, were students of 7NW. The students placed the crosses on the Field of Remembrance in preparation for the official Remembrance Day service at the North Terrace memorial. On Remembrance Day students attended the formal ceremony and also placed an individual wreath on the war memorial monument.
At the same time as the North Terrace ceremony was taking place, students from 10EH were honoured to be able to lay a wreath at West Terrace Cemetery. That morning, the same students had placed poppies on some of the individual resting places of Australian soldiers (of which there are 4,150 resting places at the heritage listed cemetery).
This was a fantastic opportunity for students to be involved with local community, learn about the history of West Terrace Cemetery, the many conflicts Australia has been involved in be involved in and to be part of the spirit of Remembrance Day.
Thanks to Ms Rosa Frezza and Ms Elizabeth Heuzenroeder for taking their classes and enabling SAC to participate in significant community and national events.
Ms Carolyne Williams
From the Deputy Principal (Pastoral Care)
Creating classes that reflect well-balanced learning communities
We have completed the important process of class placements for 2023.
Placing your daughter and considering the make-up of each classroom is an intricate process that we take very seriously. Our goal each year is to create classes that reflect well-balanced learning communities, an optimal learning environment for all students and classes that mirror the diverse nature at St Aloysius College.
Given our commitment to the process, once the classroom communities have been formed the movement of one student from the group can alter the integrity of the group and causes a chain reaction within the classroom balance, which we work so hard to achieve. Therefore, we ask that parents and caregivers trust the expertise and judgment of the professionals making the class placement decisions.
In the final week of school for 2022, students from Reception to Year 5 will have a Transition session where students will meet their teacher and classmates for the following year. Parents/Caregivers will be emailed class placements that afternoon. Parents/Caregivers of students in Year 6 to Year 11 will be emailed class placement information on the last day of term, following the student dismissal.
We know that students are often nervous about starting a new year in a new classroom, and below is some advice from Madhavi Nawana Parker from Positive Minds Australia.
Please take the time to read through:
Ms Jacqui Mcilroy
Deputy Principal (Pastoral Care)
Class Placement Time
Worried about your child’s class placement? It’s perfectly natural to have a preference for a particular teacher or peer group and normal to feel worried or disappointed if they don’t get them.
A child’s emotional adjustment to leaving this year’s teacher and preparing for next year’s teacher is also interconnected with your feelings about it.
Here are some practical ways you can help make the transition smoother for your child if you or they didn’t get the news you were hoping for:
- Hear out your child’s feelings but try and avoid fixing their feelings by adding your own feelings, judgements and solutions. Feelings need to come out, be present and move through. They don’t have to be excited about the teacher they got, to learn from that teacher in the long run. The feelings you see in that initial moment aren’t necessarily reflective of how they will feel long term – especially if you don’t react with them. Humans need time to process change. When news is fresh, we can go through many feelings of resistance and uncertainty. That doesn’t mean that what’s coming is necessarily bad. You can gently say something like, ‘you really wanted X, so of course you’re disappointed. I understand. We can talk more after a cuddle/ play/ hot chocolate.’ (Basically, you want to avoid talking while their logical brain is switched off and emotions are high). Listening calmly and quietly is golden.
- Avoid looking upset about the placement in front of your child. If they are upset, they will naturally look to you to help them feel better. This doesn’t mean you have to fake being excited if you’re not (they’ll see through that) but it does mean you do your very best to be calm, confident and if you can’t be hopeful, try and be neutral. Children need us as an emotional compass when they experience uncomfortable feelings.
- Before you go in to pick them up on the day they receive their placement, remind yourself to try and trust the process. There are multiple layers to how class placements are allocated that couldn’t possibly be explained completely. School leaders and staff put in huge amounts of thought into student personalities, learning styles, teaching styles, class size, who asked to have who in their class and much more that is happening behind the scenes we’re not aware of.
- Schools genuinely do their best with this decision. If you’re upset, it’s possible they are too but when weighing everything up, had no other direction to turn. Supporting your child’s teachers and school is a crucial part of your child’s psychological and academic success there.
- Your reaction to next year’s teacher news is hugely important to your child. Your confidence, hopefulness and regulated emotion is crucial. If you’re not happy, try and keep these feelings in the background and discuss them privately with another adult. Children are too young to take on their parent’s worries. If there is a genuine problem, take logical action without involving your child in the stress associated with it.
- Your child’s emotional connection to and respect for their teacher and school is deeply connected with your connection to and respect for their teacher and school.
- Children learn, grow and strengthen in resilience by being with a broad range of personalities and communication styles. When things are unrealistically perfect and easy, they can get stuck in their comfort zone. To build confidence for later on in life, you need to experience a broad range of peers and situations and discover that through talking about feelings, asking for help, establishing boundaries and building your social emotional skills, you can handle a lot of what life has in store. Be there to hear their thoughts and feelings out, seek help if necessary, but above all show you have confidence in your child to get through. If situations are dangerous, toxic or damaging your child’s learning and psychological health, always talk to school staff and if necessary, other experts to ask for and seek help. Seek out the support of a health professional too if necessary. On the surface, do your best as your child’s most important adult and leader to show your confidence that your child will be safe and cared for, always.
- Do something heart-warming and compassionate for yourself. If you’re upset and stressed it’s not because you’re weak or incapable. It’s because our children hold our hearts and when they hurt, we hurt. You need to look after yourself first and foremost. It’s okay to feel uncertain.
A final note…
The advice above is general and based on child development, resilience and confidence research. It is written with the very best intention to help you. Without knowing your individual circumstances it’s not intended to replace your expertise as a parent or the expertise of educators and health professionals. Always seek tailored expert advice if you feel your child’s physical or psychological health is at risk in any way.
Wishing you all the very best with class placement news if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Hang in there beautiful parents and educators.
Madhavi Nawana Parker
UN Voice of Youth Competition
We are very proud of Year 8 student, Mariya, who ranked third in the Junior Finals of the UN Youth SA's Voice Competition last weekend. Mariya impressed the judges with her presentation on the topic of ‘Incentivising Migration to Regional Australia’. The Voice Competition is considered Australia’s most prestigious public speaking competition for grades 7–10 focused on young people’s creative solutions to the globe’s most pressing issues.
Well done, Mariya! Keep using your voice to make a difference.
Fencing SA State Championships
Congratulations to Year 5 student Sunday, who won two places in the recent Fencing SA State Championships. Sunday came 1st in the Under 11s Girls Foil competition, and 2nd in Under 13s Girls' Foil competition. Well done, Sunday!
Virtual Reality (VR) Experience for Students
Year 10 and Stage 1 Digital Technology students went to Lumination Lab to be immersed in VR. They stepped into the shoes of an astronaut and experienced what it might feel like to navigate through the stars and into the future. They investigated the challenges and exciting possibilities that exist in space exploration. Students reflect:
“It was good to experience what it might be like for an astronaut, you see the world how an astronaut would”. Kimonne Gumber
“I was supposed to take a photo of the damage to the space station so the people could see how bad it was, but the camera flew away. I had a toolbox, I picked up the screwdriver and threw it at the camera in a state of panic, it was epic mess”. Keira Gerrard
“What an eye-opening experience which gave me an insight into South Australia’s space industry”. Samantha Hay
It was great to lean about technology and innovation which is involved in venturing into outer space and planning for setting up a new civilisation.
Ms Joanne Villis
Digital Technologies Coordinator
From the Music Department
In Week 4, our Stage Band were fortunate to have Dr Jordan Murray visit SAC and conduct a workshop with the band. A gifted trombonist, educator, composer/arranger and performer, Jordan is also the new Musical Director of Generations in Jazz. Jordan spent time with our students working on all aspects of ensemble playing, with a particular focus on improvisation. The Stage Band loved working with Jordan and look forward to putting his advice into practice.
Ms Fiona Turner
Appreciating nature and its WONDERS
Year 11 Outdoor Education students recently walked 26 kilometres across three days in Deep Creek Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Pensinsula. The hikes were more challenging than usual due to wind and rain, but that didn't stop the students from enjoying themselves and the rich scenery and sounds of the park. Deep Creek is home to more than 100 species of birds and an array of native wildlife, so there was much for the team to look and listen out for, all while putting their outdoor expedition skills to the test.
Continuing the Storytelling of our History
Boarders’ High Jinks
The routine and discipline of the boarding house in the 1920s was strict with early mornings and rules of silence but mischief and pranks abounded. Midnight feasts and pillow fights were part of boarding house culture, but it was the arrival of the daughters of the Wirth circus family as weekly boarders that lifted the stakes. One claimed she could jump from the first-floor balcony with an umbrella but broke her ankle demonstrating the feat! Having the Wirth family in the school brought benefits for the boarders who were invited by Mr Wirth to a circus performance when it was in town.
Ms Carol Grantham