Lucie Farrugia, Principal

Historic Moment for the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta and OLMC

On Monday this week, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta officially signed documentation that transferred the governance of OLMC Parramatta to Mercy Partners. The virtual event was held via Zoom and was attended by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, representatives from Mercy Partners in Brisbane, Chair of the OLMC Board Kerrie Walshaw, myself and other College staff. Whilst this marks the official handover, a ritual event will be held next year, when we expect restrictions to have lifted.

Here below is the Statement of Commitment made by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.

 

 

This momentous occasion is an historic moment for the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta and our College and it is a fitting opportunity to reflect on how OLMC is an enduring work of the Sisters of Mercy. The wonderful school community we have here today and our thriving culture of excellence was made possible by the hard work and dedication of the founding Sisters who came here from Callan in Ireland and every other Sister of Mercy in the Parramatta congregation who came after them. Their legacy will always be interwoven into the fabric of this school, and through this work, they will continue to positively impact the lives of girls and their families into the future. It is because of them that we thrive today, well into the 21st century, as a Catholic school providing excellence in education in the Mercy Tradition.

Welcoming Students back Onsite

We are very much looking forward to welcoming all students back onsite very soon. Since Monday, Year 12 girls have had the opportunity to use the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre for study and from next Monday, October 25, we will be welcoming back all girls from all Year Groups as well as staff.

I am aware that the transition back to onsite learning might be challenging for some students and if this is the case, please reach out to your daughter’s House Leader for any additional support you might need.

 

 

Parent Webinar Next Wednesday

I am delighted to see that so many OLMC parents have already registered to attend our upcoming webinar presented by educator and parenting author Dannielle Miller OAM. This webinar will be taking place on Wednesday 27 October 2021. Please CLICK HEREto register if you have not yet done so. Please see the poster at the end of this newsletter for more information.  

Ex-student and Sister of Mercy Selected as Judge for the Prestigious Blake Prize

Last week we were excited to learn that Sister Rosemary Crumlin rsm had been selected as a judge for the prestigious Blake Religious Art Prize. Rosemary is an ex-student of the College and a Parramatta Sister of Mercy. She is an art historian, educator and exhibition curator with a special interest in art and spirituality. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours for service to the visual arts, particularly the promotion and understanding of contemporary and religious art. Earlier this year, the College was privileged to receive a special donation of an art book collection from Sister Rosemary.

 

OLMC Virtual Art Exhibition 

Thank you to all students who submitted photos for the Spring Photo Exhibition. I now invite you to view our first OLMC Virtual Student Exhibition: Spring has Sprung 2021.

Presented in this exhibition is a selection of Highly Commended photographs taken by OLMC students during Term 3 when students were participating in Online Learning. Students have individually explored the theme of 'Spring' and what it means to them. These photographs are an exemplary exploration of the season, the symbolism of hope, and the promise of brighter days that are offered at this time of year.

CLICK HERE to view the online exhibition.

Mercy Girls win Art Awards

It seems that Mercy Artists is the theme for our news in October! Congratulations to the following Mercy Girls who were recently announced as winners in a  photography competition entitled HOME, which was run by Wollongong Art Gallery.

  • Valerie Liu (Year 10) was awarded First Place in her age group for her artwork Trapped Inside
  • Nikita Krzeminski (Year 7) was awarded Third Place in her age group for her work Quarantine

Wollongong Art Gallery made the following comment in regards to Valerie’s work: “We thought it a captivating photo, depicting the feeling of isolation during this weird time of COVID. What a wonderful image!”

You can view the works of our two talented artists below and also by visiting the Gallery via this link

Mercy Tree Christmas Appeal Launch

The Mercy Tree Christmas Appeal launches in the coming week. Donations raised from this appeal will go support Women’s Community Shelters. I invite you to consider purchasing a Mercy Tree Christmas Gift Certificate to support this worthy cause. Thank you to the many in our community who have generously made donations.  

Mercy Scholarships

Applications are now open for Mercy Girls commencing in Year 7, 2023 for Mercy Scholarships. OLMC offers a Mercy Scholarship for Academic Excellence, a Mercy Scholarship for Music Excellence and Mercy Scholarship for Alumnae. Please CLICK HERE to find out more and to apply.

Lucie Farrugia
Principal


Gabrielle Scanlon, Director of Identity

Friday Morning Mass

It is with great delight that we are able to once again join with Fr Walter in the Mother Mary Clare Dunphy Memorial Chapel to celebrate Mass on a Friday morning. This will only be possible by following COVID safe practices, and face masks must be worn in the Chapel.

I would like to personally thank Ebony Elias and Alyssa Dib for their tremendous leadership in maintaining Friday morning prayers throughout Term 3 and 4 during Online Learning. Gathering as a faith community is a demonstration of the spirit of hope and community which is alive at OLMC.

November: A Month to Remember

November marks a special time in our Church when we pause and remember the loved ones we have lost who left a lasting impression on our lives and in our hearts. As a community, we will stop and pause for prayer and reflection throughout the month of November.

St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal

Families will again this year be invited to donate to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal. This year, more than ever, there are many local families who are experiencing hardship. Donations of non-perishable food items can be dropped at the Staff Common Room Door. These will be collected and delivered to our local Vinnies chapter for delivery to families in need.

For students in Year 11 who will return to school at the 12VR Campus, we will have a labelled box available there for your donations.

This appeal will run until the end of November.

CLICK HERE to read more about this appeal.

Letters from a Mercy Friend

The Mercy Action and Liturgy Groups engaged in a letter writing initiative which saw us partner with students from St Gabriel’s at Castle Hill. St Gabriel’s is a school for children with additional needs and our girls wrote letters and included activity and colouring-in pages and photos of things they enjoy doing. Letters were tailored to specific children and their interests and we even had one letter transcribed into braille to allow the letter to be accessible to the children.

These letters were so warmly received by the children and we are grateful to have established a beautiful partnership with this school that we will grow into the future.

Thank you to all girls who participated in this initiative.

Gabrielle Scanlon
Director of Identity


Ebony Elias

What is your leadership Portfolio? Liturgy Leader             

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio? As a liturgy Leader, I have the responsibility of organising initiatives that bring the College together through prayer and reflection. I also assist the Student Leadership Team with College events and initiatives.    

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2021 and 2022? I hope to grow and develop my relationship with God through this portfolio by providing opportunities for the girls at OLMC to express their faith in a positive way. I would also like to create new initiates to strengthen liturgical life at the College.              

What is something about you that others might be surprised to know? I love musicals and I have seen musicals on Broadway and at London's West End. I also know the entire Hamilton Soundtrack off by heart!  

What would be a good theme song for your life? Why? 'Don't You Worry Child' by Swedish House Mafia as it always reminds me to not stress about the little things in life as everything will work out and be okay in the end.

What are your interests outside of school? I love to listen to music, play netball, cook, dance, watch Netflix and spend time with family and friends.       

Stephanie Ogle

What is your leadership Portfolio? Debating and Public Speaking Leader.

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio? We help run Debating and Public Speaking initiatives and competitions. Sakshi and I will support and encourage Mercy Girls to get involved in these activities. 

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2021 and 2022? As DAPS leader, I hope to encourage all Mercy Girls to build their Public Speaking skills and confidence and encourage more involvement in Debating and Public Speaking initiatives.               

What would be a good theme song for your life? Why? Dancing in the Moonlight because it is about enjoying the small moments in life which I always try to make a priority.  

Name one person with whom you would like to share a meal and why? I would like to share a meal with Audrey Hepburn. She is such an amazing and inspiring woman and I would love to hear the details about her life. Her humanitarian work and acting are incredible.                 

What are your interests outside of school? I love making things and, whilst lockdown has been unfortunate, it has given me an opportunity to enjoy doing this more often! I love to paint and sew as I find those activities very relaxing and I love to see my progress and the cool creations I can come up with!                        


Languages

Language students have continued to display their learning and skills throughout Term 3. As we returned to Online Learning in Term 3, students engaged, collaborated and produced ‘end products’ that showcased their learning in a variety of forms and skills.

Year 7 French students learnt to give descriptions of pets in French. At times their pets were part of the Zoom sessions too! This culminated in creating a ‘Lost pet poster/notice’ in French. There were some very descriptive and creative posters. Students have now moved on to the topic of Food and Cuisine which is very much enjoyed! They have discovered some popular French traditional dishes and reflected on French food etiquette and customs. Students applied their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar to create their own French Menu for a new restaurant to open in their local area. Year 7 Spanish students learnt to talk about their leisure and free-time activities. To demonstrate their skills and knowledge thus far, students created a Webpage in Spanish where they introduced themselves and presented their free-time activities. Although we cannot travel at the present time, students experienced a ‘virtual’ trip to Spain, visiting Barcelona and some famous landmarks to gain inspiration for a task later in the term.

Stage 5 language students have also learnt new skills, producing some creative texts. Year 9 Japanese students focused on the topic of Houses and Neighborhood. Students applied their linguistic knowledge to create and describe their own Dream House using Minecraft as part of their assignment. There were some very original and interesting designs that presented a blend of Western and Japanese-style housing. Year 9 French students engaged in the study of shopping for clothing in France. They learnt the vocabulary and linguistic structures to apply when shopping, particularly purchasing clothing. Students produced two projects; one was the creation of a French shopping catalogue, promoting a chosen style ‘ le look’ while the other project saw students create and participate in a role-play where they shopped in a large Department store.

Year 11 Japanese students completed their Preliminary Year culminating in their examinations recently. As they begin their HSC course soon, they will continue to develop their language skills to a more sophisticated level through the study of topics such as Healthy lifestyles, Leisure, Travel and Current Issues in Society. Year 12 students have been reviewing, consolidating and practising a variety of writing texts to prepare them for the HSC Examination.

It has been a challenging few months, however, Language students have embraced Online Learning and the opportunities presented to them. They have engaged well and gained new skills to equip them in their journey of learning.

Sheila Ibarra
Languages Leader of Learning

Careers Transport Panel

On Tuesday October, 19 our Year 10 and 11 students joined a panel of women who hold various positions within TransportNSW. The panelists all work on the Parramatta Light Rail Project. Hosted by Sarah Shaw – Place Manager for Parramatta Light Rail – we heard about the many career pathways available in the areas of engineering, legal, sustainability, communications and more. The PLR project has been of significant interest to the College both as an amazing addition to our local transport network and also as an opportunity for learning in many areas. We look forward to sharing more opportunities that help our students explore the limitless possibilities that await them. 


Matthew Esterman
Director of Innovation and Partnerships


Ann-Marie Herd – Director of Student Wellbeing

It's nearly that time when we are all together as a community once again. I know for all of us the return to school next Monday brings with it mixed emotions. Last week I made reference to some advice from Dr Murray Wright, the Chief Psychiatrist for NSW Health, who made mention that, as a family, it will be important to focus on self-care and keep the focus short term and on what we can control.

This week please CLICK HERE to read a fact sheet by Dr Kay Carroll, at The Education Knowledge Network at Western Sydney University. Dr Carroll has produced this information to assist parents with the transition back to school.

However, on a practical note, it is also important, as a family, to start taking some steps to get ready to come back to school. Please encourage your daughter to:

  •      Set her alarm earlier each day
  • Try on her school uniform. Does it need rehemming or ironing?
  • Polish her shoes
  • Take off any nail polish and find a hairband/ribbon to tie her hair back
  • Clean out her school bag and locate her pencil case, diary, computer bag, lunchbox and so forth
  • Have face masks ready and some spares in her bag
  • If travelling by public transport, check the timetable to make sure things have not changed
  • Eat a snack at 11.05am and lunch at 1.35pm.

Later this week an email will be sent to your daughter about the day-to-day details of being onsite at the College.

Finally, please have a conversation with your daughter to identify all the good things about returning to school as well as who her support people are – her family, friends, Homeroom Mentor, House Leader, Counsellors and myself.

Take care and go gently.

Ann-Marie Herd
Director of Student Wellbeing
 

2022 School Travel Applications are Now Open

Information from Transport for NSW

Applications for student travel in 2022 opened on Tuesday 12 October 2021.

Students who need a School Opal card or travel pass for 2022 can apply now. A new application will need to be submitted if they are applying for a school travel pass for the first time, or if they are requesting an additional travel entitlement as a result of a new shared parental responsibility situation (e.g. joint custody).

Students who change address, school, campus location, or who have repeated a year or received an expiry notification from Transport for NSW for their school travel entitlement should renew or update their details before the end of term 4. This will ensure that schools can endorse applications and current entitlements are updated and remain valid. School Opal card holders will have the changes applied to their existing card.

If a student’s distance eligibility has changed based on their grade the system will automatically update their entitlement if they meet the new criteria. If they do not meet the new eligibility criteria, they will receive an expiry notification via email.

Students who have an entitlement approved under a medical condition that is due to expire will receive a notification advising them to re-apply.

Term Bus Pass holders will receive a notification to re-apply.

Students in the Opal network applying for an Opal card (including a Term Bus Pass) for the first time will receive their Student Opal card at their nominated postal address. Cards will be mailed out from January 2022.

CLICK HERE to read more information about school travel from 2022

From the College Counsellor

Supporting your adolescent returning to face to face learning

Over the past Term, we have all made major changes to the way we live, socialise, and learn.

Each of us has our own experiences of lockdown and the associated Online Learning. Some students have found it hard, others may have been worried about how it will affect their progress and there have been others who have enjoyed it. Whatever your child’s experience, know that it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions and for these emotions to have changed from one week to the next. As we get ready for restrictions to ease and an eventual return to school it is important to think about strategies that will help to prepare your daughter for her return to face to face learning, manage any worries you or your daughter may have and re-focus your thinking.

We hope you find the following tips helpful:

Organisation

  • Life has been quite different, so it may take some time to adjust back into routine. Be realistic in your thinking about how long it might take.
  • Get organised before the day. Encourage your daughter to try on her school uniform and shoes before the first day back. They may have had a growth spurt and need to organise getting new clothing.
  • Encourage your daughter to develop skills to be prepared the night before - checking their timetable to know what lessons they’ll be having and preparing the equipment they might need. Ensure they have charged their laptop, remember their travel card, student ID, and a mask.

Safety

  • Keep up to date about the rules around mask-wearing at school and while travelling to and from school. Ensure your daughter understands the rules. Remember, COVID safe practices about physical distancing and hand washing are for the safety of everyone in the College community.
  • There may be changes to school-based activities like assemblies, sport and excursions to encourage physical distancing and help keep people safe.
  • If your daughter has some worries about her health or is worried about safety, please let her House Leader or the College Counsellor know, so that we can support her.

Keep connected

  • Challenging times can be easier to get through together, so stay connected, be positive and be there for each other. Remember that everyone is going through the same experience and others may be feeling the same way so it can help to talk about it together and support each other.

Don’t forget your physical health

  • Encourage your daughter to pack and eat a healthy balance of food throughout the day. Along with drinking water, it will help to improve mood, assist with concentration, boost energy levels and support general health. Encourage your daughter to eat breakfast.
  • Returning to school may make your daughter physically and mentally tired for a while, however staying active is important. Encourage them to spend some time doing something physical at the end of the day to give themselves a brain break, get the blood flowing and boost mood. This could be a walk, bike-riding, dancing, yoga or high intensity exercise. 
  • Encourage adequate sleep to allow the brain and body rest. Get back into the routine of sleeping 8-10 hours for optimal concentration and performance. Uninterrupted sleep is best, so ensure phones are on silent or even better, in another room. 

Feelings

  • It’s ok for both you and your daughter to feel a range of emotions about returning to school after learning from home. It is normal to feel worried, nervous, angry or happy, or any emotion in between. It may take some time for your daughter to reconnect with teachers and other students and settle back into the school routine. Remember that some days may be easier than others. Encourage and support this as much as you can, and please reach out to House Leaders and Counsellors should you have concerns about your daughter's wellbeing.
  • It can be helpful to recall a time in the past when you have faced challenges that made you feel nervous or worried. Think about the strategies that you used to manage these emotions and get through the situation. Talking with your daughter about strategies that help you in tough times can be helpful for them to learn how to manage these challenges too.
  • Even though it can be tough, look to focus on the good things, no matter how small they may seem. It is important to seek out the positives to help build your confidence and focus on your strengths.

If you do feel overwhelmed there are heaps of things you can do:

  • Take some deep breaths, walk away and calm down, then go back and see what to focus on next.
  • Use an app to help you look after yourself. Smiling Mind is one app that can be used to practise mindful meditations to manage stress and help you to relax. Reachout.com has a plethora of resources and other apps you can utilise.
  • Utilise your support network. This may include your family, friends, workplace, and the College.  
  • Your local doctor is also someone you can talk to. They can also help refer you for some counselling should you think this may be helpful.
  • Your feelings are important and you are allowed to talk about them if you need to. There are lots of people you can talk to when and if you need to.
  • Please reach out to the College Counselling Team should you have concerns about your daughter's wellbeing and/or her transition back to face-to-face learning. The best number to reach us is via 9683 3300.

Sandra Portela
Senior College Counsellor


ACYP Forum

On 14 September, the SRC attended a Forum led by the Office for the Advocate for Children and Young People, to speak about our thoughts and experiences with COVID and lockdown as young people. The Executive Leaders had already attended a larger Forum with students from all over the state and a number of guest speakers, but this particular event was much smaller and intimate. We were joined by two ACYP members to facilitate an inclusive and open discussion with the entire SRC, rather than simply receiving a lecture-type talk. It was such a refreshing experience for us to feel, as young people, that the government cared about our thoughts. As we are still too young to vote, it is reassuring to know there was a way for us to speak and have our feelings heard. I truly felt as though I could be open and honest about my opinions, knowing that I was in a safe and supportive environment. I also was able to ask the ACYP team members at the end of the Forum about how they were able to enter their line of work, as public and social advocacy is something I am passionate about and a career I hope to pursue in the future. I was able to receive some great advice that solidified my hopes for my future outside of high school and university. It was an enriching experience I am honoured and pleased to have taken part.  - Sarah D'Souza (SRC Vice President)

The ACYP Forum was very insightful. It allowed us, as teenagers, to express our concerns surrounding the COVID-19 lockdown. We were also able to have a discussion with other students within OLMC about how we each felt being at home, including the positives and the negatives. It helped us to understand what others were going through, and also posed some questions and solutions, especially regarding mental health and the wellbeing of teenagers during the pandemic. I'm very grateful for the experience and it would be wonderful to do it again. - Gabby Fleming, Year 8, Callaghan

The ACYP Forum was a rewarding experience with discussions regarding my age group and the impact COVID-19. I felt heard, and I hope the things that I suggested and contributed will be taken into consideration, to help this generation and generations to come. The Forum gave me the freedom to talk about my personal experience with the pandemic and it felt so comforting to know I wasn’t alone. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to represent not only students at OLMC but also people my age. - Sierra Lake, Year 8, Stanley

The ACYP Forum was an amazing opportunity to share my experiences in regards to my learning situation in the COVID pandemic. It was great to hear from the other SRC representatives about their experiences in such an open environment with the ACYP members who facilitated our discussion. Ultimately, this experience allowed me to feel heard as a young person during this difficult lockdown period. - Bella Wahbe, Year 11, Clare

Debating and Public Speaking

It has certainly been a hectic time for our girls in competition, both in Debating and Public Speaking. In both these activities, success has come our way.

In Debating, the exceptional achievements of both Year 7 teams continues. After being undefeated in the six preliminary rounds last semester, both 7A and 7B finally contested the quarter-finals last week on Zoom. In a truly impressive result, both teams won and now progress to this week’s semi-finals. To think that of the four semi-finalists, two are OLMC teams, speaks volumes for their talent and the dedication of their coaches.

The 7A girls who competed were Isabel Homairi, Celeste Ieronimo and Sofia Tong. Because of some significant problems with technology, Vishnu Gude was on standby, while Shiloh Julien was reserve. The 7A team was coached by Priyanka Sangar. The equally impressive 7B team, coached by Lily Tambrchi, was A’ishah Ali, Lizzy Butler and Bianca Mina. Pia Goradia and Celina Wassef were the reserves. Thank you also to Mr Gerard Altura who acted as chairperson in one of the debates.

Last weekend also saw the finals of the IGSA Festival of Speech. This competition involved 23 independent girls’ schools in New South Wales, with early submissions on video determining finalists. Just to reach a final is a challenge but Tia Monga of Year 9 confirmed her outstanding talent in the category of Prepared Readings by being placed second overall. In the two required readings, Tia chose to first deliver the Beatitudes and then a truly inspirational extract from a speech by Nick Vujicic, a world-famous Australian motivational speaker who was born without arms or legs.

Congratulations to Tia and well done to our other entrants in various categories. All our girls prepared thoroughly and we are proud of all of them. The full list of participants is below.

  • Junior Poetry: Alyssa Lette Year 8
  • Junior Prepared Speech: Prarthana Ambareesh Year 9
  • Junior Prepared Readings: Tia Monga Year 9 (2nd place)
  • Senior Poetry: Arlene Kumar Year 10
  • Senior Prepared Speech: Tanya Bhatara Year 10
  • Senior Prepared Readings: Bettyna Mostoles Year 10
  • Current Affairs Panel: Freya Scothern Year 10, Sakshi Chouta Year 11, Stephanie Ogle Year 11

Today eight girls are participating in the second stage of the UN Voice competition. This stage is held on various dates over a two-week period, with State semi-finalists being announced in early November. A further fifteen girls are preparing for the Captivate the Future event on November 5 while Mia Fogolin of Year 9 is our entrant in the Parramatta Rotary Clift Public Speaking competition on November 8.

All our girls deserve commendation for their involvement in Debating and Public Speaking at a time when the lockdown has created all sorts of challenges, both in preparation and in submissions. Thank you also to the parents who have supported their daughters in all competitions.

Christopher Ostrowski
Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator       


P&F AGM - 7.00pm, 16 November 2021

To align with the new OLMC P&F Constitution, the AGM will now take place in November each year starting in 2021. 

To nominate for a position on the P&F Committee, please complete the form below and email it to pandf@olmc.nsw.edu.au

P&F Committee Nomination Form

P&F Committee Roles and Responsibilities

We invite you to attend the P&F AGM via Zoom at 7.00pm on Tuesday, 16 November 2021.

Please note you will need to register for this meeting. Registration will close 4.00pm Monday, 15 November and IDs will need to be checked prior to attending to maintain our security. Click here to register your attendance.

P&F Committee


Opening Hours and Purchases: The Uniform Shop is open Monday to Thursday, from 8.00am – 9.30am, and 3.00pm – 4.30pm on Monday and Wednesday (school days only).

Online purchases can be made via the Online Uniform Shop (https://shop.olmc.nsw.edu.au/) and all orders will be delivered to the Student Centre for collection by students.

Year 7 2022 Uniform Fittings will begin during October 2021 and all bookings can be made via the college website under Uniforms, and then click the tab ‘Make a Uniform Shop Appointment’. House Shirts will also be fitted during this time, and delivery will be via the College in Term 1 2022.

A recommended Junior College Summer Uniform Package will soon feature on the Online Uniform Shop.

Year 10 2022 Uniform Fittings: If a fitting is not required, uniform purchases can be made via the Online Uniform Shop and will be delivered to the Student Centre for pick up.  If you would like a fitting, then please make a booking via the website. To do this, click on the Uniforms tab and then click the tab ‘Make a Uniform Shop Appointment’.

A recommended Senior College Summer Uniform Package will soon feature on the Online Uniform Shop.

In Term 4, all girls are to wear the full Summer Uniform. 

If you have any concerns regarding uniform items, please don't hesitate to contact the Uniform Shop on 8838 1275 or uniformshop@olmc.nsw.edu.au


School Fees

 

School fees for Instalment 4 have now been sent to families and are due by Friday 22 October 2021.  Please note, that as Term 4 mostly relates to co-curricular sports and other activities, there may be many families that have no charges for this term and therefore will not receive a Fees Statement.

Payment may be made by Bpay, cheque, money order or by credit card via the Parent Community Portal (Visa or Mastercard)

Any queries regarding fees or payments can be directed to the Finance Office on 8838 1214 weekdays during 8.00am – 4.00pm or by email to finance@olmc.nsw.edu.au

Ms Anne-Maree Ironside
Finance Manager

Parent Webinar October 27

CLICK HERE to register.

Mercy Scholarships for Year 7, 2023


Mercy Futures Special Event