Ritual Handover of OLMC  from Sisters of Mercy Parramatta to Mercy Partners 

At a special ceremony held at the College last Sunday, the process of transferring the Canonical Sponsorship Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta from the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta to Mercy Partners, was completed. The event was attended by Sisters of Mercy, current College Board Members, staff and students, and members of the Mercy Partners Stewards, Council and Executive, and it followed six months after the official signing of documents on 18 October, 2021.

The Ritual marked a very important milestone in the College’s long, rich history. Since establishing the College in 1889, the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta have provided oversight and guidance as Canonical Sponsors. I would like to share with you below a reflection on the ritual from Sister Mary-Louise Petro, Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.

There were many emotions experienced on the day of the Transfer ceremony. There was a sense of anticipation for a vibrant new life for the future of Our Lady of Mercy College and pride that after 133 years of Mercy education we had a College ready and able to fly in new and unknown ways. There were tinges of sadness as the mothering Congregation was taking a step back from such a precious and long-standing ministry.

Some of the most memorable and touching moments of the day were the cleansing ceremony conducted by Darug women, Shanaya Donavan and Aunty Julie Webb. Their beautiful movements re-instated the Darug heritage and paved the way for this new journey of OLMC. To sit with Catherine McAuley, sense her presence, hear our Mercy story and feel the thread of Catherine’s dream woven with ours over the years was a powerful reminder of the strength of charism. A very poignant moment came with the reflection by student, Katherine Baker, who brought tears to many eyes with her deep appreciation of her Mercy education, her commitment to the Mercy values and assurance that the Sisters would not be forgotten.

The ceremony brought together the journey undertaken by the Congregation and OLMC to ensure that the College would flourish into the future. Mercy Partners fulfilled all our desired criteria and the ceremony reflected the good-will, commitment and strong governance that we desired. OLMC has found a home within the Mercy family where it can continue to educate young women where its values will be upheld and strengthened, its Board and staff supported and affirmed and where Mercy will continue to shine its light into the world. I know that the Sisters of Mercy will continue to be an integral part of the college through strong relationships and caring friendships.    

Mary-Louise Petro RSM 

Mercy Tree Annual Appeal this coming week

In the coming week, we will be launching our 2022 Annual Mercy Tree Appeal. As announced at our Opening Mass earlier this year, the 2022 beneficiary is Cumberland Women’s Health Centre (CWHC). Cumberland Women’s Health Centre (CWHC) is a non-profit community-based organisation which was established 26 years ago to provide women’s health services and domestic violence specialist response services to women in the Parramatta, Cumberland and Baulkham Hills area. I invite you to help transform lives by making your donation to the OLMC Parramatta Mercy Tree.   

Year 7 Enrolment Information Evening

A reminder that next Tuesday is our Year 7, 2024 Enrolment Information Evening. This is a chance for families who are considering enrolling their daughter to gain more information about the enrolment process and College life. Enrolments for Year 7, 2024 will open that evening.

College Uniform Survey

As you may be aware, the College introduced a new uniform in 2019. Whilst the uniform change was very well-received by students and their families, there have been some concerns expressed in regards to some design elements. 

I invite you to complete a very short survey to express your thoughts on potential changes to our uniform. These changes centre around the creation of one blazer for all students in Years 7 to 12 and one winter blouse (amended) for all students across all Year Groups. 

I am very keen to hear all parents' thoughts on these potential changes. Aside from increased comfort for students and the convenience of streamlining certain pieces for all Year Groups, it is my hope that the change will provide an economic benefit to families as they will no longer need to buy new uniform items as their student progresses through high school. If the proposed changes are approved, there would be a 3-year change-over period.

CLICK HERE to complete the Uniform Survey.

COVID-19 Update

The College has received the next batch of RAT Kits. Distribution to students and staff has commenced.

The current reported COVID cases at the College are as follows:

  • Year 7 – 18
  • Year 8 - 16
  • Year 9 – 52
  • Year 10 – 15
  • Year 11 – 12
  • Year 12 – 18
  • Staff - 9

Western Sydney Local Health District has put together some very useful COVID-19 resources for the community. CLICK HERE to access these community resources. 

Parent-Teacher Conferences 

Years 11 and 12 Parent-Teacher Conferences are coming up in May. This year bookings will be made via the Parent Portal. Please see below in the Teaching and Learning section for more details about the Conferences.

Lucie Farrugia
Principal 


Gabrielle Scanlon, Director of Identity

Lent- Week 3

We are now in the third week of Lent and have raised over $3200 for Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion Appeal. Last week, students were invited to add their coins to a coin trail which spelt out ‘PC22- Earth’: a reminder of our Year 12 theme of 2022 to “Answer Earth’s Call to care for All”.

This week, we focus on the story of Janice, a Wagilak woman and traditional dancer who tells her family’s stories through movements handed down over generations. Like many remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Janice faces a range of challenges – low employment and education, financial hardship, poorer health and lower life expectancy. Financial support helps Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation, which operates a centre for traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts and culture, providing employment and generating income for local communities.

 

Year 9 Reflection Day

It was wonderful to be able to head to Mulgoa with Year 9 for our first Reflection Day off campus for many months. The staff and students were spiritually nourished with prayer and reflection, were uplifted and entertained by Mr Chris Doyle and could celebrate as a community with Mass led by Fr Walter Fogarty.

The theme of the day, ‘Beyond Ourselves’ encouraged all students to look at the way they engage in relationships, friendships and interactions with others. It was planned to tie in with their Wellbeing Program and allowed the girls some much-needed time away from the classroom to reflect on where they are right now.

 

World Water Day

March 22 is the United Nations' World Water Day - a day when we are reminded of the great necessity to store water and use it wisely. This year’s focus is on groundwater.

You can get involved by submitting a one-minute video about groundwater- How does it affect your life? Is there enough? Is it safe? What needs to be done to protect groundwater?  For more information do to the World Water Day page!

Earth Hour

At 8.30pm on Saturday March 26 we celebrate Earth Hour! Earth Hour is a worldwide event that encourages communities to spend one hour with no electricity, lights or air conditioning. By doing this we can spread awareness about sustainability, climate change, and taking responsibility for our ecological footprint.

To celebrate the importance of this day, we will be having a mufti day on Friday March 25. In order to “Answer Earth’s Call to Care for All,” students are asked to wear blue or green clothes to represent our beautiful Earth and bring $2 to donate to Project Compassion!  

 


Teaching and Learning Update

Parent-Teacher Conferences 

Our Parent-Teacher conferences provide a valuable opportunity for you to hear from your daughter’s teachers about her academic growth and areas for focus. These conversations enable both the teacher and the parents to work together to improve student learning and wellbeing. We look forward to welcoming you and your daughter to the College to strengthen our parent-teacher-student learning partnership. 

In the lead-up to these conferences, an email will be sent from the College with detailed information on how to book. Please note you will need access to the Parent Portal to schedule your interview times. 

Please make a note of the following dates: 

Year 12: Wednesday 11 May, 3:30pm – 7:30pm. Bookings open: 2/5, 9am. Bookings close: 8/5, 10pm. 

Year 11: Tuesday 24 May, 3:30pm – 7:30pm. Bookings open: 16/5, 9am. Bookings close: 22/5, 10pm. 

Year 8, 9 and 10: Monday 18 July, 9am – 7pm. Booking times to be confirmed. 

Year 7: Thursday 28 July, 3:30pm – 7:30pm. Booking times to be confirmed. 

Academic Reports 

Academic reports are provided to students and parents twice a year. Through our reporting, our teachers aim to provide information regarding student performance and learning growth. The reports may be a springboard into action for students as they reflect on feedback provided and subsequently grow as independent leaders of their own learning journey. 

Please note general dates for Semester 1 Reports: 

Year 12: early Term 2 

Year 11: mid Term 2 

Years 7, 8, 9 and 10: Term 2 Semester break 

PDHPE

When I heard we were doing Zumba in practical PDHPE this term, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I was worried, but our first lesson with Ms Tamara was awesome. She put so much energy into the routines and I felt happy to do the same! I never thought I would put so much energy into a dance workout but Zumba was exciting. The music brought energy into our class and the routines never failed to make my friends and I laugh at ourselves. I was sweaty and tired by the end of each lesson but I always looked forward to coming back next week. When I began learning the routines and anticipating the moves coming up it became a competition with my friends about ‘who knew it better’. I could not have asked for better practical lessons this term and I hope that the future Year 9 classes enjoy this experience as much as I have.  

Scarlet Dominello
Year 9 

Science

Year 7 students have enjoyed exploring our science labs these last few weeks. They have discovered the names of laboratory equipment using their understanding of dichotomous keys to sort and classify laboratory glassware. Students have used microscopes for the first time, discovering how they work and how to examine specimens at a microscopic level. We hope this is the start of a lifelong journey of scientific investigation and exploration for our Year 7 students.  


From the College Counsellor

Mindfulness Daily:

Mindfulness is a state of being present in a moment, aware and accepting our thoughts, bodily sensations, and feelings without judging them. Literature and anecdotal evidence suggest that mindfulness can lead to the relief of stress, reduce chronic pain, lower blood pressure and support healthy sleep habits.   

The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment rather than ruminating on the past or trying to plan for the future.

This means that rather than ‘finding time’ for mindfulness, it is actually possible to apply mindfulness techniques to almost all activities that you do, from eating to housework, to study or other daily tasks. A lot of what we already do allows for behavioural activation. Behavioural activation refers to an activity that necessitates presence of mind. The best tasks require your brain, and body to work together to complete a goal which gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

Below are some ways to practice mindfulness daily:

  • Cooking - rather than just being a chore turn off the TV and be present while you are completing each step, avoiding phone usage or checking emails is the perfect ‘mindfulness avenue’ for beginners.
  • Gardening activates many of the senses and lends itself to presence in the task.
  • Time spent in water is a wonderful vessel for mindfulness. Whether cold water immersion (best as it encourages the release of anti-depressive neurotransmitters like dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine and serotonin) or a warm bath at the end of the night.
  • Cleaning/House chores also a great behavioural activator with plenty of accomplishment upon completion.
  • Journaling - a daily commitment to put pen to paper will add a special significance to the day. This activity can be a 2–10-minute task at the end of each day, write whatever comes to mind – nobody else needs to see it.
  • Driving - rather than getting from place to place on auto-pilot and ruminating in the car - turn off your radio and focus on driving. When you find yourself caught up in thinking, drop these thoughts and return to driving. Find yourself paying attention to the things you would normally miss.
  • Structured and Unstructured play - Any break from day-to-day activities which activates feelings of play can also help. As we get older, there is less ‘time’ in the day for play, but it can be the most effective way of activating the benefits of mindfulness. Play can be found in both structured and unstructured activities such as paint by numbers, drawing, board games, or outdoor ball games.

It might be helpful to actively allocate one activity daily for mindfulness, and to reflect on the impact this has on your overall wellbeing.

Rose Sedra
College Counsellor 

Ann-Marie Herd – Director of Student Wellbeing

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

The theme of the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on March 18 was kindness culture. On this day, the Student Representative Council members, along with Mrs Knox and Mrs Roumanus, organised for the girls to celebrate on arrival at school. With music playing, the girls were invited to write actions of kindness on a post it note and then place that on the Kindness Culture wall outside the Music Centre The messages gave lots of encouragement to each other and easy practical actions to show kindness.

Study Skills Session – Tuesday March 15

On March 15, Dr Prue Salter from Enhanced Learning Educational Services (www.enhanced-learning.net) ran a study skills session with Year 10. The session focused on helping students identify changes and improvements they could make to their approach to their studies in order to maximise their results in their final years of school.

The main areas covered with Year 10 were working effectively in the evenings and dealing with distractions, managing time efficiently, planning for assessments, making brain-friendly study notes on a regular basis and using a wide variety of active study techniques to suit individual learning preferences.

Parents are encouraged to review the handout from the session with students and discuss the main areas identified where changes need to be made. Parents can also find extra study skills tips on the following website: http://studyskillstoptipsparents.com/.  All secondary students and parents at our school also have access to a great study skills website to help students develop their skills.

Go to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au and enter the below details:

username: OLMC

password:  64results.

There are lots of useful handouts on the THINGS TO PRINT page on this site and students can work through the units where they need additional help.

Year 8 Wellbeing Day by Inner Directions – Tuesday March 15

The Year 8 Wellbeing Day provided an opportunity for the girls to interact positively with others, build confidence and step out of their comfort zone. More than anything, it gave them a framework upon which they can decide the way to manage their thinking, emotions and actions.

Year 7 Cyber Safety Evening – Monday March 14

OLMC hosted a Cyber Safety Information Session delivered by Susan McLean on Monday March 14 for Year 7 students and their parents/carers. Susan McLean is Australia's foremost expert in the area of Cyber Safety and was a member of the Victorian Police for 27 years. Widely known as the 'cyber cop' she was the first Victorian Police Officer appointed to a position involving cyber safety and young people. 

Susan’s presentation was engaging and provided Year 7 girls and their parents/carers with many practical steps so they can work in partnership to ensure their daughter is a good digital citizen. Susan’s message to the girls of, ‘Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody’ both online and offline, an echo our the College value of dignity, truly resonated with the girls.

Girls need to consider 3 R’s before using the internet:

  • Respect myself, others, my body                             
  • Be responsible
  • Consider my reputation

More information and resources can be found on Susan’s website cybersafetysolutions.com.au of particular interest for parents/ carers unable to attend are the videos on this site.

Upcoming Events

Presentation by Elephant Ed - Tuesday 29 March

During the next Wellbeing Lesson, Year 11 will be taking part in a workshop delivered by Elephant Ed. Elephant Ed is a leading sexuality and relationships education provider to hundreds of schools around Australia. Elephant Ed's workshops are evidence-based, age-appropriate and mapped to State and National curriculum guidelines. Elephant Ed is endorsed by the eSafety Commissioner as a Trusted eSafety Provider.

The workshop will be on Consent, with key learning outcomes outlined below.

  • Legalities, including age of consent and free agreement 
  • Key elements requirements for valid consent, including verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Critical analysis of consent in the media
  • The importance of respecting boundaries
  • Avenues to seek help if required

We encourage Year 11 parents/ carers to have conversations with their daughter in the lead-up to the workshop, and please feel free to contact me, your daughter's Head of House, or the Counselling Team if you have any questions of concerns about the content of this lesson.


Future Not Followers

On 9 March we were pleased to welcome Amanda Rose, founder of Western Sydney Women, and Minister Bronnie Taylor, NSW Minister for Women, for the launch of the Future Not Followers financial freedom pilot program. Ten students from the College will undertake the pilot program, focusing on financial goal setting, exploring career pathways, and building their awareness of financial opportunities and challenges for women. We look forward to working with Amanda and growing this program for other schools in future!

 

Sport

PDSSSC Swimming

The PDSSSC Swimming Carnival was held on Friday March 11 at SOPAC. The OLMC Swim team consisted of Amatra Ranjan, Ellie Geraghty, Matilda Webb, Kasey Bolt, Stephanie Lake, Elizabeth Harvie, Imogen Burns, Mia Cleary, Zoe McIntosh, Jacinta Ritchie, Emily Shumack, Olivia Nesci, Amelia Harvie, Ashleigh Hamilton and Riley McIntosh. All the girls performed exceptionally well and should be proud of their efforts. Congratulations to Elizabeth Harvie, Mia Cleary, Zoe McIntosh, Emily Shumack, Olivia Nesci, Ashleigh Hamilton and Riley McIntosh who have all qualified to compete at the NSWCCC Swimming Championships on April 6 after winning their events. Good luck girls. A big thank you to Mrs McIntosh for all her help with the team.

Saturday Netball

The Saturday Netball season with ERNA starts April 2 at Meadowbank Park. Training has now started and all students participating have been emailed their grades and playing times. Please make sure you have purchased a netball uniform ready for round 1. ERNA now have a new website where the draws/results and other information can be found: https://www.ernanetball.com.au/

PDSSSC Softball

Congratulations to Grace Cini and Teyana La Brooy for making the PDSSSC Softball team. Unfortunately, the NSWCCC Softball Championships have been postponed for the time being.

PDSSSC Touch Football

Unfortunately, the PDSSSC Touch Football Championships have been cancelled due to ground closures and repairs.

NSW All Schools Triathlon

The NSW All Schools Triathlon has been postponed due to poor water quality in the Penrith Regatta. A new date has yet to be determined.

OLMC Cross Country

This year’s Cross Country Carnival will be held on Wednesday March 30 (Week 9) through Parramatta Park and will be for Competitors Only. This is a normal school day.

Competitors will be participating in the Cross-Country Carnival during periods 1 and 2.

Any students in Years 7 - 12 who would like to participate will need to register on the nomination link below and has been emailed to all students. All competitors will compete together and will be eligible for selection in the PDSSSC Cross Country Carnival.

Here is the link - https://forms.office.com/r/8kfviYVDTc Nominations close March 25. Students will need to register from their school notebook.

12 and 13 yr olds will run 3km, 14 – 17+yrs run 4km (18 yr olds run 6km at PDSSSC)

Competing students will need to change into their PE uniform when they arrive at school and change back at Recess. Please remember students must wear the full summer PE uniform that complies with the college dress code. Water will be provided but it is encouraged that all students bring their own water, sun protection and medication. The course can be seen on the OLMC Cross Country program that has been emailed to all students.

Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator 

International Women's Day Performance

On International Women’s Day (the extremely rainy 8 March) the Chamber Ensemble were invited to Club Parramatta to perform at a breakfast hosted by Cumberland Women’s Health Centre. We faced a couple of challenges on the way there as it was difficult managing our instruments and umbrellas at the same time.

Once we arrived and set up, the pieces we performed included Gabriel’s Oboe, I See the Light from Tangled, as well as The Blue Iguana. With all the guests staring at us, I was pretty sure my heartrate had reached an all-time high, but we quickly settled into a rhythm.

It was an honour to be in the presence of so many people dedicated to the celebration of the achievements of women. It was daunting as most of the guests were people who had made a name for themselves by doing what they did best and advocating for what they believed in. We all wanted to make a good impression on them. There was quite a bit of whispered shouting when Anna recognised Jan Fran: ‘THE LADY IN YELLOW!’ ‘Who?’ ‘SHE’S THE JOURNALIST!’.

Once the performance was over, we joined the guests at a table set out for us and we were able to join in a lovely breakfast made by Club Parramatta that was excellent. We were able to listen to Jan Fran give a beautiful speech about the social stigma surrounding women, especially those who had migrated. She related her own experiences growing up. I learnt a lot from what she said in that room, and it has given me a whole new outlook on the need for female empowerment.

Overall, I thought it was a great experience. Jan Fran’s speech was something extremely powerful that really resonated with me. It was certainly an experience worth braving the heavy rain for!

Jennifer Wang
Year 9

Debating and Public Speaking

CSDA Grand Final

Congratulations to Deeya Vashi of Year 10 who reached this exceptional level of this competition. While Deeya did not get the judges’ nod, her efforts, including revamping her speech in response to feedback in the semi-finals, is to be commended. We are all proud of you, Deeya. Thank you to Mrs Lonergan who gave up her evening to help supervise the event.

ROSTRUM Voice of Youth

Rostrum Voice of Youth is one of the most challenging competitions our girls are involved in, as only winners of heats progress to Regional Finals. In 2022, we have had the best results ever in this event. Lucy Tapley and Sofia Tong of Year 8 both won their heats, as did Karen Pannu of Year 10. Sakshi Chouta of Year 12 was runner-up and Gabbi Fleming and Neha Sharma of Year 10 were third in their respective events. This result is a testament to the talent of our girls and all deserve recognition for their efforts.

As always, Rostrum officials were amazed at the efforts not only of our speakers, but the way our volunteers contributed to the evening. These girls deserve our thanks:Lizzy Butler, Hasini Madukuri, Makenzie Williams, Summer Rayne Roughley, Jasmine O'Brien, Lohita Gollavilli, A'ishah Ali, Jemima Scothern, Pia Goradia, Kavya Samtani, Maddi Starkey, Irena Michales, Bianca Mina, Jennifer Wang, Lara Alam, Claire Scanlon and Gwen Penano. Not only did these girls welcome our visitors but they also acted as chairpersons and timekeepers which made things so much easier for Rostrum officials. Their praise of our girls was genuine.

Special thanks to our DAPS Leaders Sakshi Chouta and Stephanie Ogle who not only welcomed our visitors but also organized our volunteers in preparing rooms for the competition. Sakshi and Stephanie’s contribution was much appreciated. Thank you also to Mrs Bujnowski who gave up her evening to ensure the visitors received the hospitality they have come to expect from OLMC.

THE BIG PHOTO

Last week, many of the over 160 girls involved in Public Speaking this year had their group photo posted on the College's Facebook. The photo says a lot about the enthusiasm of our girls for participating in Public Speaking.

DEBATING

A record number of girls have applied for Debating this year. Auditions are taking place this week and over 130 students have indicated their interest. Teams will be announced next week but those who miss out on CSDA will have another opportunity later this year.

Christopher Ostrowski
Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator
 


Year 12 Camp 2007


Reminders from the Uniform Shop

 

  • Year 7 Winter Uniform Fittings are taking place now until the end of this Term. Bookings can be made through the College website via the Uniform Shop page.
  • The first two weeks in Term 2 are transition weeks where students can choose to wear either the Summer or Winter Uniform. By Week 3 (from Monday 9 May) students are required to wear the Winter Uniform.
  • A reminder that the blazer is to be worn as the final/outer layer when travelling to and from school and at College Assemblies of House Chapel in Terms 2 & 3.

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.

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

Katrina Blundell
Uniform Shop Coordinator   

Year 7, 2024 Enrolment Information Evening