Stephen Walsh, Former Principal

Dear families,

Over the past few weeks, we have seen many examples of the different ways politicians in our local or global settings have demonstrated their capacity to lead. Whether it be Theresa May and the Brexit issues in the UK, Donald Trump and ‘the wall’, Kim Jong-un from North Korea continuing with possible testing of his nuclear weapons, or our own local politicians Morrison, Shorten, Berejiklian or Daley. The one politician who has made a huge impact, not only on her local community but at a global level, is the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.

I spoke to the girls at Tuesday’s College Assembly about the qualities of leadership Ms Adern has displayed throughout the Christchurch tragedy: the qualities that many of us have admired and also, for some of us, have challenged us to ask "would I have responded in the same way?"

Here is a woman who has demonstrated courage in awful circumstances, a compassionate woman who has mourned with and beside her community, a woman who has challenged all forms of extremism, a woman who has said we must change our guns laws (and within days presented the NZ community with new legislation to eliminate semi-automatic weapons). A woman who has challenged the negative aspects of the social media world in which we now all live. A woman who says that our common humanity should stand above all our differences in faith and ideology. A woman who has said that our democratic right to free speech should not accept ‘hate speech’ and intolerance of another individual or group within our community. A woman who said irrespective of our individual differences we are one, we are all New Zealanders, we are all human.

Irrespective of our own political perspectives, irrespective of our own faith traditions and beliefs (whether it be Catholic, Maronite, other Christian denominations, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or a non-believer), Australian born, an immigrant or refugee, male or female, young or old, we are all bonded by our common humanity.

I don’t know about you (and some of you may not agree with me), but this is the type of leader that I want my own daughter to look up to. The College Mission Statement says that we want our girls to be ‘courageous leaders who can make a difference in the world’. Congratulations Jacinda Adern and the many other leaders just like her. Our world and our Australian community desperately needs more leaders like you!


Let us pray as a Mercy family that here in Australia we never have to experience the tragedy of Christchurch.

Enrolling Now for Year 7 2021


Last night, the College held our Year 7 Enrolment Information Evening for 2021. As of today, the enrolment process has begun. Please complete the online Application for Enrolment. Applications for 2021 will close on April 8. If you have a current daughter in the College and another daughter starting in 2021 YOU MUST also complete the necessary Application by the due date. Failure to do so may mean you could miss out on a place. I cannot stress highly enough that the demand for places at OLMC for Year 7 2021 far exceeds the number of places we have available. If you have any questions or experience any problems with the online enrolment process, please contact the College Registrar or the College office ASAP.


Key dates

A reminder that Friday 12 April is a College Staff Spirituality Day and is, therefore, a Pupil Free Day. Last day of Term for students is Thursday 11 April.

Mother Daughter MassMonday 13 May
Women in Leadership ForumWednesday 29 May
Athletics CarnivalFriday 31 May



God bless,


Mr Stephen M Walsh


New HSC Syllabus

There are lots of exciting things happening in the English Department in 2019. This year marks the first Year 12 cohort to undertake the new HSC syllabus for English across all courses, including Standard, Advanced and Extension 1. The new syllabus has a strong focus on building our students' skills as both writers and readers through a reduction in the number of assessment tasks and more flexibility around the types of tasks students complete. These changes mean the course of study planned for Year 12 English students at OLMC is both rigorous and intensive but also designed so that students learn to adapt their knowledge and understanding and be flexible in their thinking about the concepts and text studied so that they can approach any examination question with confidence. By reducing the number of assessments and texts, the new course structure has enabled teachers and students to incorporate important time towards the development of the students’ skills as writers.

Literature Circles

The English Department will be implementing a new wide reading program known as Literature Circles. The first two weeks of Term 1 were devoted to pre-testing our students and introducing all classes to this reading program. The program is designed to encourage and expose the students to the reading of quality literature, with the objective of extending our students' reading skills. In addition, the program teaches students to place their personal response to the text as a beginning point in their exploration of a text and the way it shapes meaning. Therefore, students will keep and maintain a logbook enabling them to hold an interactive conversation with the text. Literature Circles then enable a collaborative discussion, where students form small groups and talk about their impressions, reactions and reflections on the novel. This key feature of the program is designed to reshape and extend their understanding because it allows members to share, discuss, argue, defend and change their perceptions as they interact with others who have read the same text. These discussions are highly structured and students are provided with specific roles, guiding their reading and their conversations. Finally, Literature Circles enable the students to interpret the text through a dynamic, co-operative process that involves the students reading, writing and talking about literature, culminating in a range of both critical and creative responses which will be assessed by themselves, their peers and their teacher.

Writer in Residence

In addition, the English Department has employed Dr Felicity Castagna who will be our Writer in Residence and facilitate a writing program with targeted students in Years 8-11. The Writer in Residence program is designed to enhance the writing skills of these targeted students. Dr Felicity Castagna is a former High School teacher and currently teaches writing at The University of Western Sydney. She holds a PhD in creative writing and Australian Literature and directs the Western Sydney women’s mentoring scheme, The Finishing School. She was the National Ambassador for Literacy in 2015 and 2016 and has served on the Board of Directors of WestWords, an organisation dedicated to teaching literacy and creative writing in Western Sydney. The Writer in Residence program requires students to participate in an all-day workshop once a term every term for 2019, focusing on the key strategies that writers use in order to convey a powerful sense of voice, learn to turn the things they see every day into powerful vignettes by focussing on imagery and consider the techniques used by writers to convey ‘a sense of place’ and learn how to apply these to their own writing. 

Students who have been invited to participate in the program will enhance their skills and understanding in accordance with the English syllabus through a range of learning experiences and the program aligns with the course content students are studying in their English classes. This includes learning how to compose imaginative texts for pleasure by effectively using a widening range of writing processes, skills, strategies.

Years 7-10 Assessment Tasks

In 2019, all students in Years 7-10 will complete three assessment tasks in English. This reflects the changes to assessment in Stage 6 as mandated by NESA. While learning how to write essays will still be a valuable skill in the English classroom, students will also be provided with significant learning and assessment opportunities to develop skills in creative and reflective writing, multimedia, presentation and collaborative learning. We have also reviewed our scope and sequence and added some new texts, including digital texts which reflects the need for the curriculum to be responsive to the rapidly changing nature of the modern world.


Mrs Leanne Portelli
Leader of Learning English

Public Speaking

Rostrum Voice of Youth

Last Thursday evening, OLMC played host to the first round of Rostrum Voice of Youth. As usual, we had a full contingent of speakers for the event. Laurice Behan, Faustina Confucious (both Year 7), Ella McGirr (Year 8) and Maeve Nolan (Year 9) competed in the Junior section while Yasmine Alwakal, Marinelle Juan (both Year 10), Claire Cottrell-Dormer and Charlotte Warnant (both Year 11) represented in the Senior section. All girls prepared and spoke well but special congratulations to Laurice, Ella and Maeve who each were runner-up in their heat. Only winners of heats progress, but if they withdraw for any reason, the runners-up are then called up to take their place. No matter what happens, all girls should be justifiably proud of their performances.

In the Mercy year of service, our volunteers displayed that Mercy value on the night and deserve the highest praise. The Rostrum organisers spoke of our girls in the most glowing terms and little wonder. Not only did they welcome visitors to the school, arrange rooms for competition and help with catering, they also stepped in at the last minute when chairpersons and timekeepers were required. The feedback from Rostrum officials was uniformly glowing. Well done to Chanel Elias, Avni Mathur, Tia Monga, Angelique Owen, Jessica Ranieri, Hayden Rodewald, Maddison Starkey, and Deeya Vashi (all Year 7), Shanzeh Hussain (Year 8), Julia Kable and Dinithi Pingamage (Year 9), Smrithi Raghunathan (Year 10) and Priyanka Sangar (Year 12). Our Debating and Public Speaking Leader, Gabrielle Mizzi, not only helped as a volunteer but also was MC on the evening, welcoming everyone to the College.


Thanks must also go to Ms Kristen D’Alessandro who helped to ensure that plenty of food and drink was provided for our visitors. Our reputation for hospitality remains strong!

Year 7 2021 Enrolment Information Evening


We are very fortunate to have an outstanding crop of young speakers in Year 7. Last night, Laurice Behan and Maddison Starkey proved once again that being of a tender age means nothing when it comes to addressing a huge audience numbering in the hundreds. Laurice and Maddison spoke at the Year 7 2021 Enrolment Information Evening with true professionalism. Both girls not only spoke well about their experiences as new students to the College but their reliability and initiative in preparing their speeches speaks volumes about their high sense of enthusiasm and responsibility. Thank you to these girls for their significant contribution to the evening.


Over the last two Fridays, the semi-finals and finals of the CSDA public speaking competition were held, first at St Patrick’s Strathfield, then at Marist College North Shore. Ambeikaa Mishra (Year 8), Sakshi Chouta and Stephanie Ogle (Year 9 but competing in the Year 10 division) all prepared thoroughly for their semi-finals but congratulations go to Sakshi on progressing to the final last Friday. This was an exceptional achievement and despite not being placed in the final, Sakshi should be very proud of her efforts. All three girls are excellent speakers and are sure to taste success in the future.

World Titles

In just over two weeks’ time, Jessica D’Souza of Year 11 will be travelling to Toronto, Canada, as part of the Australian team to compete in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition. Jess has been working exceptionally well in her preparation, balancing those demands with her assessment schedule. Nevertheless, Jess is thoroughly prepared for all four events that are required. The competition actually goes for four days: two days of intense competition, followed by semi-finals and then the Grand Finals.

While Jess has been practising her after-dinner speech, her impromptu speaking and her interpretive reading, it is in debating preparation that three other girls deserve mention. Lily Tambrchi (Year 11), Gabrielle Mizzi and Priyanka Sangar (both Year 12) have volunteered their time to prepare and present practice debates to give Jess more experience in the style of debating she will encounter.


Jess has been interviewed by the Parramatta Advertiser on her achievement in reaching the world titles and her story will be circulating widely through both written and social media. It is certainly an exciting time for Jess and indeed the whole College.

Rotary Club of Parramatta


On Monday April 8, talented Year 9 student Virginia Hechme will represent OLMC at the Parramatta Rotary Clift Public Speaking Competition. One student per school is permitted in this competition and as always, the standard of students involved is very high. Virginia’s topic is “Social media creates warped views of reality”. It is certainly a topical issue! Good luck to Virginia in her preparation.

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Co-ordinator



OLMC Sport is now on Twitter, so join in the conversation @OLMCsport

NSW Athletics


Congratulations to Lucie Francis who medalled at the Little Athletics NSW State Championships recently. Not only did she win, but she was also selected in the LANSW State Team to compete at the Little Athletics Australian Championships in Hobart in April. Before she travels to Hobart, Lucie will be competing alongside Summer Giddings at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney next week. We wish both girls the best of luck!

Saturday Netball

Netball begins on Saturday April 6. All team lists, grades and game times have been emailed to students. Saturday Netball is played in the ERNA Competition at Meadowbank Park (end of Adelaide St, Meadowbank). Parking can be very difficult so please arrive with plenty of time.

You can view the draw and other information on the ERNA website –

Wet weather information will be passed on through OLMC Sport Twitter.


Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Co-ordinator

Uniform Shop

4-6 Ross Street (corner of Trott Street)
Ph  8838 1275
Trading times  Monday and Friday (school days) 8.00am - 9.30am

Uniforms can be ordered via email or by phoning the Uniform Shop.

Winter Uniforms


The Uniform Shop will be open on the following days:

Saturday 30 March8.30am - 4.00pm
Saturday 6 April8.30am - 4.00pm
Saturday 13 April8.30am - 4.00pm
Saturday 27 April8.30am - 4.00pm

For the above opening hours, an Appointment is required. Please note, if you do not have an appointment, we will not be able to assist you as it disrupts our schedule.

Sale on Old Winter Uniforms

Limited stock of the old winter uniforms are available for sale at half price! Please email the Uniform Shop prior to coming to confirm availability of the sizes required.

Mercy Tree

Your Child's use of Social Media and being Kind Online

The use of social media and technology is unavoidable in this era, and simply trying to stop your child from using these platforms may not be achievable. Talking with your child about safe social media usage is more likely to help ensure that they are equipped for any negativity they may encounter whilst they are online.

Click here for articles from Teen Breathe magazine (Issue 8) on useful starting points for a conversation about their social media use and being kind online.


Ms Sandra Portela
Senior College Counsellor



We prayed ...

In response to the terrorist events in Christchurch, the OLMC community prayed the following prayer in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre:

Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre communities in Christchurch, New Zealand, as well as the Muslim community around the world, in the wake of the tragic shootings that took 50 lives and left at least 20 other people critically injured.

Creator God, unite our hearts and guide us in the path of peace.

We pray for all the victims and their families.

May You comfort them, at this sad time.

Liberate us from darkness, by Your light,

Bless us our ears, eyes, hearts and hands,

So that people feel Your Spirit, as we reach out to others to care and console.

Guided by Your love, may we always be people of hope and service.


Mary Mother of Mercy,

Pray for us!

Venerable Catherine McAuley,

Pray for us!

Mercy Futures

The power of kindness!

At last week’s Mercy Futures we heard from Michael Lloyd-White from the World Kindness Project about why he is passionate about kindness and his journey to becoming CEO of World Kindness USA.

The next Mercy Futures will be held on Wednesday 5 June.

Mrs Claire Thomas
Director of Mission

Term 2 - Winter Uniform

Your daughter may wear either her full Summer Uniform or her full Winter Uniform in Week 1 of Term 2. No combinations of the two uniforms are allowed.

Your daughter will be expected to wear her Winter Uniform from Week 2, Monday 6 May.

I would ask for your assistance in ensuring that your daughter’s Winter Uniform complies with the College Dress Code. In particular, the tunic or senior skirt is to be worn at the correct length (at least 2 cm below the bottom of the knee cap).

The College Blazer is to be worn as the outer garment to and from school in Terms 2 and 3. The jumper/cardigan is not to be worn to or from school unless under the blazer.

Please also note that blazers are to be worn to House Assemblies and College Assemblies in Terms 2 and 3.

Full length pantyhose are to be worn with the winter uniform.

Thank you for your support in ensuring that your daughter wears the correct uniform. When I speak to the girls about uniform, I emphasise the respect factor. When the girls wear the uniform with pride, they show respect for themselves and for the College. I appreciate the financial commitment you, as parents, make to purchasing all items of the uniform. It is for this reason that I ask that all items of the uniform are labelled with the student’s name so lost property can be returned to your daughter.

For details on additional opening hours for purchasing the winter uniform, see the Uniform Shop section below.


Mrs Anne-Maree Donnelly
Director of Pastoral Care


Caritas Australia Project Compassion

This year we celebrate Hope, as our Project Compassion theme.

As our climate changes, the effects of this change are being felt across the globe. Pope Francis reminds us that "We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an uninhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. (Laudato Si' #160)" We are all part of the solution to this problem.

This week, the Caritas focus is on The Solomon Islands where, surrounded by water, it is proving increasingly difficult to obtain clean drinking water for the local community. Groundwater sources are drying up and rainfall is too unpredictable to rely on. Water in wells and boreholes often made people sick and time spent walking to collect water has a ripple effect of decreased school attendance.

Water is something that people living in Sydney might take for granted. We often complain when it rains, and then expect to have water available when we turn our taps on. Maybe this week we can all be mindful of the amount of water we use and try to donate money to Project Compassion to allow all people of the world to have access to clean and safe drinking water.


Year 9 Reflection Day

On March 20, Year 9 students went to the Edmund Rice Retreat and Reflection Centre in Mulgoa where Mr Chris Doyle facilitated a day full of meaningful lessons and messages intertwined with music, song, activity and laughter.

The day looked at the idea of relationships and ways that we can value, appreciate and respect ourselves, others and our God.

The students are to be congratulated for the spirit with which they entered the day. They were engaged and participated willingly with reverence and respect during our afternoon Mass with Fr Walter.


Reflection by Sarah Maroun:

Reflection Day was a blast. One of my favourites so far! We arrived at Mulgoa to be greeted by the enthusiastic staff and Chris Doyle. We were seated in the hall accompanied by some music which we all sang along to as some of the songs were our favourites. Chris performed on his acoustic guitar and was accompanied by his talented daughter, Gabby. They were the perfect duo and the energy between them was amazing. We were all in awe when they started singing. The spirit came alive and it was in all of us.

Chris talked us through the primary values of the Church and what it was like being raised in his family as a practising Catholic. He made me really think about how grateful we should be for what we have. He told us about the importance of Catholicism in an enjoyable way which we will never forget.

At lunch, we played some fun games and great conversations happened. After lunch was Mass, conducted by Fr Walter. The Mass was truly beautiful and the Gospel touched the hearts of all of us as it was about what a Mercy upbringing looks like. It described the primary values of our school, particularly those values of service and compassion. The Year 9 Reflection Day was something not to be missed, it was truly extraordinary! 

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Retreat & Liturgy Co-ordinator

1988 Mock Trial Team