Principal's Report

Dear Parents, Teachers and Students,

Many of you would be unaware that I am the ACT Director of the National Catholic Secondary Principal’s Association. As such, there are meetings each term in different parts of the country. Earlier this week, I was in Darwin for the August meeting and had the opportunity to engage with many people involved in Indigenous education. On the Tuesday, Directors were flown to Bathurst Island to spend the day with the Principal and his community of St Francis Xavier High School. The whole day was inspirational. The imposition of the Australian curriculum on Indigenous communities poses challenges of relevance, cultural sensitivity (and insensitivity), resourcing, assessment, and staffing. None of this is surprising. All of this could be better done with greater voice and agency by Aboriginal Communities – particularly remote communities such as the Tiwi’s.

The Australian curriculum offers some flexibility, which is good. Teaching geography in the Margaret River of WA should be done a bit differently to its teaching in the La Trobe Valley or far North Queensland. But the efforts to do more with this flexibility is encouraging. All of the students that I met are multi-lingual. All of them possess a profound understanding of Indigenous cultural practice. Their capacity for dance and music is highly evolved and their ability to live “on country” for extended periods of time would fail most of us. I was inspired by a strong sense of community, powerful welcome and real spirit. It is not to say that issues of domestic violence, economic exploitation, and the delivery of services around public health, gambling and alcohol excess are not unknown to these kids and their families. Many of these social challenges are aggravated by distance. Having spent an hour teaching measurement to two year 9 boys, required extraordinary patience, pedagogical dexterity, and serious concentration on my part – the closing of The Gap didn’t move much for these boys in that lesson. The work of the teachers and leadership of that school points to the very best that Catholic Education can provide its community.

Thank you to college counselor, Catherine McMahon for her work on World Anti-Bullying Day conducted today (Friday the 18th). Many of us have been on the receiving end of bullying and emerged from it with varying degrees of success. It has to be admitted that some of us have bullied other people either intentionally or overtly – I’m sure I have. We can never measure the full impact of bullying on individuals and groups. Catherine’s work today helped to highlight the scourge of bullying on our society and offered pathways to recognise it, acknowledge it, and deal with it. Stopping bullying is a work-in-progress everywhere.

Yours Sincerely in St Mary’s College,

Michael Lee OAM.
Principal (Acting)

Mandela Service Awards

The Mandela Service Awards.

All members of the St Mary’s College community are called to follow Edmund’s example of faith and generosity. One way we can do this is through service to others.

  • Can we make the smallest sacrifice to help those who are in need?
  • Can we give a small amount of our time to serve others?
  • Can we act knowing that we may not see the outcome of our generosity?

Service is when we overcome our own needs and reach out to those on the margins. This is an opportunity to transform lives! It is a decision to go beyond our own needs for the sake of the other. It is not a feeling. It is a decision.

At St Mary’s College, the Mandela Service Awards are awarded each year to students who serve in our community. This service is given freely and without payment. Each student is asked to serve a minimum of 67 minutes each term. Why? Just like Blessed Edmund Rice who served those around him in need many others also generously served others. St Teresa of Calcutta and Nelson Mandela, both dedicated 67 years of their life to public service.

Students who make this decision are recognized with a Gold, Silver or Bronze Mandela Service Badge. The House who has the most Service points will be awarded the Mandela Service Cup.

Mother Teresa

Love in action is service.
St Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997 

Nelson Mandela
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others.
Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Earning a Mandela Award

Volunteer your time at school. This may be attending social justice initiatives, cleaning up in the park, knitting for the homeless, helping with a College event, Caritas activities, donations for Vinnies, the Winter sleepout and lots more!

The teacher in charge of the event will record your service. Time across the year is added up to determine your badge.

Kate Johnston
Director of Identity

Student News

Bullying No Way Day

Today, Bullying No Way Day will take place at both campuses. Our College has been involved in this day since 2019 when the Federal Minister for education, Dan Tehan, visited and illuminated his views on what an inclusive and fair-minded environment really looks like. Since then, under the stewardship of Catherine McMahon and the Student Voice Team, the day has grown in gravitas and reach. We’ve had student statements, wrist bands, lessons, sausage sizzles, cup cakes and individual student proclamations about why they abhor bullying in any form. All have been worthy initiatives and most efficacious at planting our flag atop an environment where bullying simply is not tolerated.

The 2023 iteration of Bullying No Way Day will see a dramatic, purposeful and poignant activity take place which builds on the fantastic work of yore. In Pastoral Care Period, students will be asked to put their names to a student written pledge to help prevent bullying and violence. These pledges will then be correlated and placed in an area of the College as a way of permanently reminding ourselves about the importance of treating each other well at all times. In doing this, every student will commit to eradicating bullying. We anticipate it will be a most powerful statement of intent.

I would like to thank Catherine McMahon for her superb work in driving this initiative. Indeed, it makes our school a better place and challenges our students to bring their best selves to all interactions.

Chris Pye
Director of Students

Bullying No Way day

Assembly Celebration


In the past week, our College community gathered together to celebrate our past, present and future through a student-run assembly.

The assembly was organised and produced by Year 12 Prefect of Student Wellbeing, Spencer Slaney, who should be commended for his success in creating a meaningful and engaging experience in which the whole school gathered.

The assembly saw the Semester 1, Pat Browne Scholars recognised for their achievements. I especially want to congratulate the female Pat Browne Scholars who were recognised; as despite our currently uneven gender ratio at St Mary’s College, every single year level saw female representation on the stage for these awards. Although I am one of the senior leaders at the school, I look up to these girls and feel that they are helping to build what it means to be a girl at St Mary’s College at the beginning of our history, and are doing a fantastic job at this.

Pat Browne Winners

The assembly also saw the opportunity to congratulate those students who found success in ACC and CGSAV sporting competitions, (such as the Premiership-winning ACC Senior Soccer Team), another group of students who are helping to build the culture of our school through their commitment, sportsmanship and enthusiasm.

The Year 12 Prefect Team presented on the heritage of St Mary’s College. Prefect of Academia Ethan Oyston, and Prefect of Sport and Co-Curricular Sabrina Lehpamer, gave a presentation on the history of education in this precinct, which is currently celebrating its 170th anniversary. My College Co-Captain Raj Johnston, conducted an interview with a panel consisting of myself (current St Mary’s student and PCW alumni), previous student Gianfranco Forti (CBC and St Mary’s alumni and 2022 College Prefect), and Sal Lima (current St Mary’s teacher, and former CBC teacher and alumni). I feel that the disbelieving chuckles heard when Gianfranco and I both described being shy before our times with this community, are a reflection of the deeply transformative impact that the College has on its students.

The assembly concluded with an uplifting performance from the band, led by Ms Lawless. Yet another group in the school that are indicative of the friendships that are being formed and the accomplishments that are being made as our College enters the second half of its third year with passion, excitement and enthusiasm.

I hope all students and community members are giving their best and keeping warm during Term 3!

Audrey Smart
College Co-Captain

    Student Voice

    ERA for Change

    I thought I’d use my newsletter column this week to share with you a little bit about a group that my co-captain Audrey and I are a part of.

    ERA for Change is a student advocacy group consisting of student leaders from Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) schools across the country. The aim of this network is to promote a more just and peaceful world. Whilst we can’t change the world overnight, the actions of students in their schools nationally are small steps towards achieving positive change.

    As part of our commitment to this group, Audrey and I attend regular meetings on Zoom where each school shares what they have been up to in order to work towards achieving change. There are many issues that have been discussed, starting with how we can be advocates in our community. The feature item on ERA for Change’s calendar each year is the Launch Day, held in March. Launch Day celebrates the advocacy network, and is designed to empower youth and provide them with knowledge and resources to advocate against certain social issues. The day also raises awareness of certain injustices. The 2023 Launch Day explored the topics of mental health, climate change, domestic violence and reconciliation. Not only did Audrey and I take part in the Launch Day, but we also had students from other year levels join us to engage in this activity.

    You can follow ERA for Change on Instagram (@eraforchange) to see some of the work of students across Australia.

    Wishing everyone the best as Term Three continues. Please continue to bring in items for the Vinnies Winter Appeal and leave these items in the basket in your homeroom so they can be collected. This year, Vinnies are particularly looking for toiletries and women’s socks.

    Raj Johnston
    College Co-Captain

    Australian Baseball Representative

    Australian Baseball Representative

    Recently, Amelia Wright Year 9 returned from her second baseball trip to Japan. Amelia represented Australia in the PONY League U16s boys tournament. As it turns out she was the first girl to ever play in the boys tournament from any country. It was in Ichihara City, Chiba in Japan from 19-23 June.

    She also represented Australia in the PONY League U15s girls tournament. It was in Tochigi, Japan from 31 July to 4 August. What a fantastic effort. 

    We are so proud of you Amelia.

    David Formosa
    Director of Development

    Amelia Wright

    Year 8 Science Games

    Year 8 Science Games

    To help celebrate Science Week, our Year 8 students had the opportunity to showcase their science based games yesterday to visiting parents and friends. The effort that the students put into creating their games was exceptional. Well Done!

    Peggy Blassis
    Learning Leader - Science

    College Ski Trip

    St Mary’s College Ski Trips

    Just as Taylor Swift thought she had the hottest tickets in town, the St Mary’s College Ski Trip bookings opened. TryBooking was so inundated that it crashed 15 minutes in! The system reset and tickets were sold out 40 minutes later!

    Forty Eight St Mary’s College students were able to catch the end of Victoria’s Snow Season over two ski weekends this year, including twenty three first timers. Each day kiced of with an early start for 8:30 lessons before an afternoon of free skiing on Mount Buller. The Year 12s on the first trip had thick fog but great snow on southern slopes with ‘Wombat’, ‘Little Buller Spur’ and ‘Standard’ providing great skiing. Advanced senior skiers were able to cap off the weekend with a run off the summit down ‘Slalom Gully’. Younger students on the second trip were blessed with spectacular blue skies but the early onset of Spring saw diminishing snow. Great skiing was still to be had though as ‘Family Run’, ‘Summit’ and ‘Howqua’ delivered.

    We must mention some highlights of the year as students young and old took to the slopes. It was great to have some experienced young skiers out including Charlie, Christian, Leroy and Charlie S. It was also fantastic to have a new group of Year 9 girls with Yesenia, Georgia and Jaya joining us. With some younger students on board I need to thank Yasmin, Nick and Gus for looking after them, and Arthur for his extraordinary support of some first timers. And lastly a special mention to Dana who took to skiing an advanced black run on her second day of skiing- it was great to see her ice skating skills come to the fore and translate on to snow!

    David Joyce
    Teacher/ Outdoor Education Convenor

    Annual Production

    “We’re Off to See the Wizard!”

    St. Mary’s proudly presents the timeless classic ‘The Wizard of Oz’ this September.

    Set in Kansas at the turn of the twentieth century, this beloved story sees Dorothy and her dog Toto whisked away to the wonderful land of Oz where she meets a host of characters including the Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion and of course, the Wicked Witch of the West!! With memorable songs such as ‘If I Only Had a Brain’, ‘Munchkin Land’ and ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, this production ensures that families of all ages will enjoy their journey through Oz.

    Over the last two months, our cast of 34 students and student orchestra have been working tirelessly to ensure our production is a magical experience for all.

    Performance dates are 7th, 8th and 9th of September in Logue Hall at Edmund Rice Campus. 

    Get in quick! Tickets are selling fast.

    We look forward to following the Yellow Brick Road with you in September!

    Brendan Tollit
    Drama Co-ordinator

    Geology Lesson

    Year 8 Geology

    Sometimes it takes a different approach to teach students about how nature works. 

    Year 8 students recently used the humble loaf of bread to learn a bit about geology. The best part about learning this way, is that you get to eat your work!

    Marcia Rogerson
    Laboratory Technician

    Community News - Camp Blue

    Fortnight In Photos

    2023 Lumina Edition 12 - 18 Aug 2023

    Australian Baseball Representative

    David Formosa

    Director of Development


    Australian Baseball Representative

    Recently, Amelia Wright Year 9 returned from her second baseball trip to Japan. Amelia represented Australia in the PONY League U16s boys tournament. As it turns out she was the first girl to ever play in the boys tournament from any country. It was in Ichihara City, Chiba in Japan from 19-23 June.

    She also represented Australia in the PONY League U15s girls tournament. It was in Tochigi, Japan from 31 July to 4 August. What a fantastic effort. 

    We are so proud of you Amelia.

    David Formosa
    Director of Development

    Amelia Wright