I write to you today to inform you of the passing of a very much loved member of our community - Mrs Christine Bourke. All OLMC families will have come into contact with Christine and her husband Paul, as they jointly managed the College Uniform Shop for well over 20 or more years. Prior to the Uniform Shop, Christine and Paul were heavily involved in the College P&F as well as working for the Sisters of Mercy in a number of advisory roles.
Christine Bourke was a true Mercy woman. There was never a day I saw Christine without her cheerful smile, her pleasant manner and her dedicated capacity to serve the families of our community. Christine will be sorely missed by all of the OLMC family.
Christine passed away in the early hours of today after a fairly short illness.
I know that Christine would welcome the words of Catherine McAuley:
“…will you tell them all (the sisters) to get a good cup of tea - I think the community room would be a good place - when I am gone, and to comfort one another - but God will comfort them.”
Mary Mother of Mercy, Pray for Christine
Venerable Catherine McAuley, Pray for Christine
OPENING SCHOOL MASS
Last Friday, the College community come together to celebrate our Opening School Mass. After our Eucharistic celebration, we acknowledged the past Principals who were present of OLMC - Sr Janet, Sr Ailsa and Mrs Kitty Guerin, and Sr Edith in her absence, for their outstanding service and leadership of OLMC Parramatta.
|Sr Edith Angel||1966-1977|
|Sr Janet Woods||1978-1989|
|Sr Ailsa Mackinnon||1990-2004|
|Mrs Kitty Guerin||2004-2013|
This is a combined total of 53 years of Leadership of this wonderful College.
There was a line from an Industry Superannuation Fund advertisement a number of years ago which says ‘from little things big things grow’ which talks about how a little investment can set you up for the future. I can only imagine what the 9 Pioneering Sisters would say if they were here with us today to witness the tremendous growth in OLMC over the past 130 years. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks to us “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” How we have grown in 130 years to be a blossoming tree – a Mercy tree with our branches outstretched touching the lives of so many as we educate young women of greater western Sydney.
It is fitting for us in 2019 to acknowledge the dedication and service of the Pioneering Sisters and the many women who joined the Sisters of Mercy and, over more recent years, the many lay teachers and support staff, all whom have contributed to the growth and development of this wonderful school now known as Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta. It's a community that we can all be justly proud of and one we are all committed to serving on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta.
Sr Mary-Louise Petro rsm, Congregation Leader, presented the College with a framed series of pictures of the Pioneering Sisters and spoke of their individual qualities. She invited the girls to choose one of the Pioneering Sisters as their ‘Spirit Mother’.
HSC HIGH ACHIEVERS ASSEMBLY
In Week 2 we welcomed back our 2018 HSC High Achievers for a special Assembly!
Mercy Girls heard from OLMC's Highest Achiever Cassidy Kealy-Ashby about her journey to HSC success.
It was lovely to see the smiling faces of our recent school leavers as they took the chance to catch up with their Mercy friends and former teachers who helped them on their journeys.
Congratulations to the HSC Class of 2018 - it was a pleasure to have you back at the College!
Here is an excerpt from Cassidy's speech:
"Grit and hard work go hand in hand. Grit is about having passion and perseverance for a goal and sticking with it, regardless of how hard it gets. Grit is that feeling of being uncomfortable or our favourite term, as Mrs VandePeer refers to it… “being in the learning pit.” I really believe that grit is one of the most significant predictors of success and students who display grit show the greatest improvements in their learning. Something I’m sure we can all relate to is when we receive an assessment back and feel as though it doesn’t reflect our hard work. However, grit is having the ability to pick yourself up from it, dust yourself off and work even harder- to re do the Mathematics concepts that you don’t understand or to spend time with your English teacher asking for clarification."
(visit our Facebook page to view a video of the event and see more photos)
MATTHEW ESTERMAN - Director of Learning Technologies & Innovation
On the first day of the 2019 school year, the College's new Director of Learning Technologies and Innovation, Matthew Esterman, shared his thoughts on how OLMC is preparing students for the jobs of the future as part of a back-to-school feature on ABC TV News.
NEW COLLEGE BELL TIMES
As we have commenced a new finishing time of 3.20pm, I am well aware of concerns expressed by some families in regards to bus transport arrangements and the traffic in North Parramatta. We commenced our discussion with all the bus companies back in May 2018 in regards to the proposed changes. We have now finalised a change in one bus to move from Market Street to Ross Street. Traffic in the area is impacting on bus arrival and departure times.
Last year, I also consulted with the Principal of St Patrick’s Primary School about our new finishing time where we both believed that the change will assist with the traffic flow around the schools.
However, continued work on O’Connell Street, due to preliminary works for the new light rail, slowed down traffic and is making it more difficult to exit left from Ross Street - both mornings and afternoons. I have asked Parramatta Council and Parramatta Police to look at the traffic flow in North Parramatta around the three schools.
I strongly encourage families to plan for extra time if they intend to drop off / pick up their daughters in Ross Street or to find another close and suitable location away from the busy streets.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind parents to please take extra care when driving around the College. Please refrain from making U-turns on Ross Street (especially over double unbroken lines or outside Trott St which is one way) as it is very dangerous given the high volume of children (both from St Patrick’s and OLMC) in the vicinity.
I would like to make it very clear I will not accept rude and offensive parents taking out their frustration on any member of the College staff who are supervising your daughters crossing the road or waiting for buses. I personally witnessed this week a number of near misses that would have caused an accident. Your daughter’s safety is paramount! I have been on the receiving end of rude and aggressive parents myself over the past fortnight and I find this completely unacceptable from members of a Mercy community and it must stop. I am always happy to meet with any parent who may have a concern to raise in a dignified and respectful manner.
School finishing time will not change from 3.20pm for this year. We will also evaluate the length of lunch. The extended day was to allow for students to arrange to meet with their House mentors or House Leaders throughout the year, for some of the co-curricular activities to take place, and for teachers to meet. The College Leadership team will evaluate the school finishing time, buses and traffic throughout the year especially as we receive more information from the Light rail consortium and buses companies about the ongoing development and changes to the local roads around North Parramatta. Please be aware that the long term plan is that Church Street will be closed to all car traffic and the main route through North Parramatta will be via O’Connell Street.
Mr Stephen M Walsh