Acknowledgement of Country
From the Principal
What a spectacular end to the 2023 school year we enjoyed last Friday night at the Entertainment Centre. It is impossible to choose a highlight, as the smiles on the faces in every act tell the story of students lighting up the stage with their energy and enthusiasm. Thanks to all the families and friends who came along, and a special thanks to all the staff who have put months into preparations for this event. It is all worthwhile when you see the quality of the performances on the night.
The Year 2 and Year 4 students and staff also brought together a fabulous Pageant Assembly last week, with the Year 2 floats enchanting students from the ELC to Year 6. I love watching their faces as they pull their floats around the Undercroft, with parents looking on with pride! It is a great demonstration of the fun of learning, and sharing the products of that learning with the community helps students to appreciate what they have learnt through the eyes of others.
Many primary families were also in attendance at our Semester 2 Mass and Awards Ceremony this week at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral. The primary choir animated the celebration with their beautiful singing as we recognised the gifts and talents of our students. Years 7 to 9 students also participated in assemblies and liturgies to conclude the school year. By marking the end of term in this way, we honour the relationships and learning that have strengthened throughout the year and look towards the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead.
Congratulations to all our Semester 2 Award Recipients!
As we come to the end of the school year, the nervousness that once accompanied the arrival of the school report has been replaced with a new awareness of student progress thanks to continuous reporting. Parents are kept in the loop via SEQTA of student assessments throughout the semester, so there are no surprises when the final grade emerges. I hope that this makes it easier for families to provide the support and encouragement every student deserves, whatever the final grade.
This year, our liturgical celebrations have centred around the theme of blessings. We have taken time to express our gratitude for all that we share as a school community. For us at St Aloysius, mercy is the greatest blessing of all, and as Pope Francis says, it is the blessing that never disappoints, the blessing that restores others’ joy. This joy brightens our lives and has its ultimate source in God’s loving presence. May the God of Mercy bring joy to all our students, staff and families this Christmas season.
We are excited to share our refreshed Masterplan that has been endorsed by the Mercy Education Ltd Board. The purpose of the Masterplan process is to develop a comprehensive vision for the future of St Aloysius College, considering the needs of current and future students and staff and promoting innovative and contemporary learning opportunities.
Read more about the Masterplan here.
Ms Paddy McEvoy
Ngapartji Ngapartji: You Give a Little, I Give a Little
MERCY LIGHT: CONNECTING
“How is Sue?”
Selinda, a young artist and worker at Ninuku Arts Centre in Kalka, the closest neighbouring community to Pipalyatjara, asked me this question at the end of a long day, when a community barbeque cooked by St Aloysius College staff and students was drawing to a close. Selinda posed this question as I was quietly observing a heartwarming exchange between Anjali and Lilly, two of SAC’s Year 11 students, and Dolores, a respected elder, to whom Anjali had gifted a skirt she’d sewn.
That question, just three simple words, stopped me in my tracks, bringing to mind an image of the intrepid teacher who first led St Aloysius College students and staff to this remote corner of Australia back in 2010. I immediately thought, still noting Anjali and Lilly interaction with Dolores, “I wonder if Sue could have possibly foreseen the impact this cultural exchange would have on students more than a decade down the line?”
Sue Holoubek was the Social Justice Coordinator at SAC in 2010, and took a brave leap of faith in extending the hand of friendship to Pipalyatjara Anangu School. Sue had learnt of the school through former SAC staff member, Ginny Edgerley, who took on a teaching role in Pipalyatjara in the early 2000s and encouraged a cultural exchange between the two schools.
Selinda was just 16 years old when SAC first ventured to Pipalyatjara, a student herself. She later visited St Aloysius College with Pipalyatjara Anangu School and, like a number of students who were in Pipalyatjara when we first visited, has stayed in contact with Old Scholars and members of staff.
“How is Sue?” is a simple question but it carries deep and rich meaning. It symbolises the spirit of hospitality, care, connection and mutual respect we’ve been met with during nine subsequent visits to Pipalyatjara, across 13 years, with a gap in visits only due to the Covid-19 pandemic and APY Lands travel restrictions implemented to protect some of Australia’s longest surviving communities.
When we first ventured to Pipalyatjara, someone living in the community at the time quipped that, “we white people are like clouds, we come and we go.” And while SAC students and staff visit the community for what seems only a fleeting time, we’ve endeavoured to establish connections with the people of Pipalyatjara that enrich lives long-term. We’re harvesting fruits from the seeds first sewn 13 years ago by ensuring that the connections formed during our week in the APY Lands are nurtured throughout the year and that the stories are shared with the wider College community. There is a Pitjantjatjara saying, ‘Ngapartji Ngapartji’. It means, “you give a little and I give a little.” This saying truly reflects the beauty of the exchange between our SAC community and the children, adults and elders of Pipalyatjara and Kalka.
The reference to “Sue” acknowledges not only the significant contribution and impact of Mercy made by a member of our College community, but nods to the consistency and longevity of SAC’s connection with Pipalyatjara. This year, we caught up with a number of former students of Pipalyatjara Anangu School who, like Selinda, have visited SAC and are now adults; respected leaders in their own right. Verna, now aged 30, works at Nganampa Health Clinic in Pipalyatjara and has dreams of becoming a nurse. Verna proudly gave the SAC students a tour of the health clinic and shared some of the challenges of working in healthcare in a remote environment. Verna relished reconnecting with SAC staff, whom she calls her, “malpa wirus” – good friends.
SAC students and staff also caught up with Glenys, who attended SAC on a scholarship for a time. Glenys, also 30, now has her own young family, and our Year 11s enjoyed playing with her daughter, Sharika, in the early learning centre at Pipalyatjara Anangu School.
The 9 Year 11 students who visited Pipalyatjara this year entered the experience with open minds and hearts. They were not afraid to sink their hands into the dirt, quite literally, and help out wherever they could during their time in community. We congratulate these bold ambassadors.
- Alexis A
- Alicia R
- Anjali B
- Eleanor B
- Grace C
- Lilly H
- Pia V
- Sara B
- Tatum M
The students will be sharing insights into their visit to Pipalyatjara throughout 2024 and continuing to foster connections with those they encountered, while leading activities to fundraise for and support Pipalyatjara. You can read some of their initial, raw reflections below.
Early next year, SAC will be sending a delivery to our friends in Pipalyatjara with items purchased using funds raised from our barbecues. Thank you for your generous contributions to these, which helped us raise much-needed funds to support the community with supplies that are difficult for them to access in a remote location. Palya means thank you in Pitjantjatjara, so on behalf of our long-time friends in Pipalyatjara, we say palya to the SAC Community.
Ms Maddie Kelly
JAM Coordinator & Communications Officer
“Being able to spend time immersed within a community of people as welcoming as those in Pip will forever leave a strong positive impression upon my memories, my way of life, and my passion for change and equality.” - Eleanor
“Sara and I were sitting in the sandpit, filled with red dirt, just as you’d imagine in the desert, while the kids played and jumped off the roof of the cubby house and rocks, while the community sausage sizzle we held was finishing up. I took a mental photo of the two kids - Brianna and Julian - sitting on the top of the cubby house roof, the gloomy sky in the background, and their beautiful strong presence as they looked out at the sky. They were small people with gigantic hearts, who loved harder than you could imagine. They looked out for each other, comforted each other when one was afraid, held each other's hands when something was too scary to conquer alone. While we played and watched them run a muck, Sara and I realized how special these kids were and how powerful their love for each other really was.” - Pia
“In the short time we all spent in Pip, I think it’s safe to say that all of our lives have been changed. The Pip community is a warm, welcoming, and bright community that has been incredible to witness and experience. We stomped through prickles with the joyful Pip kids on our backs as we waited to try our first maku (witchetty grubs). We helped them collect twigs, flowers and leaves for their art work and experienced a whole new type of heat in the bush. However, trying maku together was an experience that none of us will forget as well as all the memories that we made with the Pip community.” - Grace
“As Grace explained, our day trip to the bush was a truly magical experience full of culture, genuinity, and joy from the kids of Pip and Kalka. One of many incredible moments for me was when one of my new best friends, 8-year-old Brianna, walked up to me, showed me her Maku, and split it in half to share. Keep in mind the bush tucker that was worked hard for was only a few short centimetres long. This, along with many other moments, warmed my heart so much so, that this special part of my heart will forever stay in Pipalyatjara.
As soon as I arrived home, my mother could tell there was a part of me still there, she said to me, “You left your heart there didn't you…” I nodded. Even now saying the kids’ names, I can't help but smile. Another moment locked deep in my heart was when Brianna and I rested on our stomachs on the hot concrete beside the community swimming pool. When I wasn’t ordered to glide the children hanging from my back through the cold water, Brianna and I were face to face with our arms under our chins, just talking, kid to kid…I wish I could keep telling you every core memory that is still replaying through my head, but that would take days. I hope this reflection conveys the extent this trip completely changed my life.”- Sara
“Going into this trip, I expected to learn most about the land and aboriginal cultures and communities, but realistically, it provided so much more than that. From hearing everyone else speak, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all learnt so much from the wholehearted and loving kids of Pip. Throughout our week, we all helped out in various classes around the school, providing us with an understanding of how the kids learn, and how much they value connection between each other. This once in a lifetime experience has allowed me to come away with a better understanding of myself and my sense of spiritual connection, prompting me to recognise the privilege I have in immersing myself in the lively, welcoming, and unique community of Pip.” - Lilly
“I, just like everyone else, feel changed after this trip. All of the Pip community, but particularly the kids, welcomed us into their lives and provided us an experience which we will never forget. From teaching the kids “apple on a stick” to give them shoulder rides so they could do the monkey bars, I now feel so connected to the community. Although this community is in our very own state, it feels like a different world. The connection to the land, community and culture is something I admire and wish we could follow here. The happiness the kids in Pip taught me is something I will treasure forever. I wish that everyone in this room could be as fortunate as me and get to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. I know that is not the case, but I urge you all to get out of your comfort zone and apply to go on this very special cultural immersion, this life changing experience.” - Alexis
Celebrating Co-Curricular Achievements
One of the foundations of learning at St Aloysius College is the belief that students benefit tremendously from participation in co-curricular activities. These activities that occur outside the classroom are invaluable opportunities for students to not only develop skills they excel in but also to apply new learning to real-life opportunities. We applaud two students who have demonstrated how accurate this is.
Arielle Herman, in Year 5, has participated in ICAS competitions since Year 3 with extraordinary success. This year is no exception. She sat all four disciplines of ICAS, which include Mathematics, Science, English and Digital Technologies. This year, she was awarded ICAS medals for outstanding achievement in the subjects of Science and Digital Technologies. ICAS medals are presented to students who score in the top percentage of their age group. Congratulations Arielle on this remarkable accomplishment.
Tatum McLean is an active participant in co-curricular activities and a recent member of the Pipalyatjara trip. Prior to her departure, Tatum met with the East Adelaide SAPSASA coordinator and a representative from the Sports Bureau to discuss transforming her art design into a sports uniform for the East Adelaide SAPSASA team. She had complete creative control over the placement of the design as well as colour sections. In the new year, her design will become a reality and will be worn by the East Adelaide SAPSASA team when they are competing. Hopefully, some of our own SAC students will be chosen for this team to wear Tatum’s design. Congratulations Tatum on the recognition of your skills. We can’t wait to see the finished uniform.
Ms Viviana Graney
Teaching and Learning Coordinator R-6/First Nations Focus Teacher
Nativity Placemats for Calvary Hospital
Over the last few weeks, students from Reception to Year 9 have been creating artworks for the patient trays at Calvary hospital. The theme for this year’s nativity artworks was 'Angels'.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
The bright and beautiful artworks created by these students will certainly brighten up the Christmas day of all who receive them. This week, three Year 7 students Ajong, Isla and Aria proudly presented the 135 artworks to Calvary hospital. We hope that the recipients of these gifts enjoy them as much as the students did in their creation.
National History Challenge Success
We are delighted to share the news that our students have achieved outstanding results in the National History Challenge. This is a prestigious nationwide competition that encourages students to use research and inquiry skills to investigate historical topics of their choice. This year’s theme was Change and Continuity. The competition aims to develop students' critical thinking, creativity and communication skills.
Our students have demonstrated their passion and excellence in history by becoming state finalists and winners in various categories. We would like to congratulate Year 11 students, Eleanor, Samantha and Emma for being state finalists in the Indigenous History and Year 11/12 Categories. They have shown a deep understanding and appreciation of the rich and diverse history of Australia's First Nations peoples. Their entry, a website exploring the change and continuity of Australia’s referendums on First Nations rights, was based on rigorous research and analysis of primary and secondary sources.
SAC students were nominated for first, second and third place in the Year 11/12 Category, with Year 12 student Crystal selected as the overall winner. Her essay on the impacts of British Colonial Policies on Pre-Colonial Nigerian Society was deemed by the judges as one of the best entries they had ever read! Charlotte, also in Year 12, wrote a highly original and insightful essay that explored the development of Australian national identity through the evolution of language that was prompted by waves of non-British immigration to Australia.
These achievements are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our students and teachers, and we congratulate their wonderful efforts.
Ms Elizabeth Heuzenroeder
Celebrating our 2023 Year 6 Graduates!
We had such a wonderful celebration last week to acknowledge our 2023 Year 6 Graduates! Students and their families gathered for a Mass and Graduation Ceremony in the St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral followed by an enjoyable supper in the Redden Centre. Thanks to Fr James McEvoy for his blessings and all the staff, teachers and students involved in making this special event a memorable one!
From the Careers Department
Careers & VET Coordinator
Girls on Track
A small group of students from years 3, 8 and 9 were extremely fortunate to attend the Girls on Track workshop at the Adelaide 500. They participated in STEM activities, a pit stop challenge, a media workshop, recreation and fitness challenge and a garage tour, while learning about the many job roles in motorsports.
FIA Girls on Track is a global, not-for-profit initiative that was initially launched by former Formula 1 development driver Susie Wolff as 'Dare To Be Different'. In Australia, the program is backed by Motorsport Australia and offers females aged 8-15 a unique opportunity to participate in motorsport events.
The goal of the program is to grow interest in STEM subjects and industries with the aim of increasing female participation in these sectors. Motorsport is utilised as a tool to expose students to the incredible opportunities and career paths available. It was certainly a fun and action-packed morning that was appreciated by our students.
Ms Julie Stephenson
Careers and VET Coordinator
STEM Creative Challenge
UniSA, Catholic Education SA, and Fleet Space partnered to create an inspiring STEM program for Year 8 students in which they were tasked with a creative challenge to solve a real-world problem about bushfires. Using design thinking methodology, students Olivia, Lili, Saachi, Sophie and Leila researched, explored and determined a solution they believed would have the most impact. The group, guided by Mr Cotton, met once a week over a period of 5 weeks to refine their ideas which culminated in a 3D printed prototype and a visit to UniSA to present their pitch. They did a wonderful job and also had the privilege of participating in activities such as a rocket science workshop and visits to the 3D printing and IVE sandbox and earth observation labs.
Transition Program Graduation
We are extremely proud of Year 12 student Shreejana who has, since February this year, been participating in the Barkuma Transition Program. Shreejana has completed a certificate in Workskills Development as well as a Certificate III in Retail in addition to her SACE. Shreejana has thoroughly enjoyed her time at Barkuma and has gained skills, confidence and friendships that will continue beyond school. Her personal growth and development were recognised by the wonderful Transition Team and culminated in a speech delivered by Shreejana to families, friends, distinguished guests and her fellow students at the Barkuma Graduation held at the Adelaide Convention Centre last week.
Ms Julie Stephenson
Careers and VET Coordinator